Preemie Matters - September 2012

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NPIHC Membership  • November Webinar  • NICU Professionals Survey  • Raising Flu Awareness  • Predicting Preterm Birth  • Innovative Texting Program  • Project Sweet Peas  • Prenatal Depression Risk.

Become a Member of the National Premature Infant Health Coalition

Are you interested in becoming a National Premature Infant Health Coalition member? If you're a nonprofit organization or entity, you are eligible to complete the application for membership. Members work collaboratively with the Coalition to disseminate information and news, promote events, and reach the broad NPIHC professional and parent network.

NPIHC Webinar: Oklahoma Infant Alliance's Late Preterm Infant Toolkit

Join the National Premature Infant Health Coalition on Thursday, November 15th at 2 p.m. Eastern Time for a webinar on the Oklahoma Infant Alliance Late Preterm Infant Toolkit. Oklahoma has an unacceptable rate of preterm deliveries at 13.8%, with over three-fourths of those born late preterm (10%) by the last data from the March of Dimes. The Oklahoma Infant Alliance sought to meet the needs of this vulnerable population through the development of a toolkit for use in hospitals and agencies who work with the late preterm infant. This webinar will describe the identified problem, the process of development of a clinical practice guideline based on current evidence-based resources and research, and final content of the Late Preterm Toolkit for physicians, allied health, and families with a goal of reduction of morbidities associated with late preterm birth. Register today!

Survey of NICU Professionals Aims to Improve Mental Health Support for Families

Caring for babies in the NICU is a challenging, sometimes stressful, job. Caring for the families of these babies can be just as challenging. In an effort to better support families, a team of psychologists at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are gathering data about mental health services being offered to NICU parents and families around the world. If you are a NICU professional, you can contribute to this knowledge by completing a brief (less than 10 minutes), anonymous online survey. You have the option to provide your email address at the survey's end, to receive a summary of compiled data.

Partnership Raises Awareness of Flu Prevention for Children with Neurologic Disorders

CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Families Fighting Flu, and Family Voices are partnering to spread the message about the importance of influenza vaccination for children with neurologic disorders such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, or epilepsy. The effort responds to a CDC study published in the journal Pediatrics which found that a disproportionately high number of children with neurologic disorders died from flu-related complications during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The flu may be particularly dangerous for individuals who have trouble with muscle function, lung function or difficulty coughing, swallowing or clearing fluid from their airways -- and the most common complication for the children in this study were influenza-associated pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Partnering organizations are coordinating communication activities to reach parents and caregivers, primary care clinicians, developmental pediatricians and neurologists, raising awareness about the need for prevention in this population.

New Test May Predict Preterm Birth

A team of researchers in Sweden say they have developed a new test capable of predicting whether a pregnant woman experiencing preterm contractions will give birth within one week. With accuracy of 75 to 80%, the test measures two proteins and combines the findings with the results of an ultrasound exam of cervical length. The findings have been published in BJOG: International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. According to the study's lead researcher, "We will need to conduct further studies before the method can be used in full, but if the results of these studies are good, the test will hopefully lead to new types of treatments to prevent premature birth and treat the serious complications resulting from it."

Text-Messaging Service Keeps NICU Parents Connected 24/7

At the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital in Mobile, a new "Crib Notes" program is keeping the parents of NICU infants informed about and connected to their babies around the clock. As physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists care for the tiniest neonatal ICU patients, they type details about their days and nights and other health data into computers stationed in the unit. The information is used to generate text messages sent to the mobile phones of parents who choose to receive them, written from the baby's point of view and typically dispatched around 5 a.m. - in time to be read by a parent who has been away from baby overnight.

Partner Profile: Project Sweet Peas

Project Sweet Peas is a nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania and run by volunteers across the country since 2009, providing comfort to the families of children hospitalize in ICUs and those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Earlier this year, the organization delivered its 4,000th care package, in addition to providing services to comfort of families, furthering the bond between parents and children and creating treasured keepsakes to families who have experienced a loss. They also host a supportive and informative social media community for parents and advocates at the Project Sweet Peas Facebook page.

Depression During Pregnancy Associated with Preterm Birth

A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine adds to the evidence of a link between prenatal depression and premature delivery. Researchers found that of more than 14,000 pregnant women included in the study, those who screened positive for possible clinical depression had an increased chance of preterm birth: 14% delivered before the 27th week, versus 10% of other women. However, the findings do not suggest a direct causal relationship between prenatal depression and prematurity, and the extent to which treatment may mitigate the association remains unclear. Researchers on this study urge clinicians working with pregnant women who have depressive symptoms to educate them about the warning signs of preterm labor.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB's disclaimer is available on our website.