Preemie Matters – January 2013

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NPIHC's Membership • Reducing Preterm Birth's in Illinois • AAP Updates Screening Guide for Retinopathy of Prematurity • Knowledge Path on Perinatal Maternal Stress & Child Outcomes • HMHB & HER Foundation Blog About HG • Graham's Foundation

NPIHC Membership

NPIHC recently updated the vision, mission and goals of the Coalition and we're looking forward to expanding membership in the New Year. If you work in the field of prematurity or know someone who does, consider filling out a membership application and become involved in this unique coalition of professionals, clinicians, community health members, and families working toward improving the lives or premature infants and their families. NPIHC membership is open to any nonprofit organization, agency, or institution which has a stake or professional interest in the issues surrounding prematurity. There is no fee for membership. Other potential members are considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the NPIHC steering committee. For those who don't meet membership criteria but would like to get involved, we encourage you to become a "Friend" of the Coalition in a less formal capacity. To learn more, contact us at

Reducing Preterm Births in Illinois

With a renewed national focus on prematurity by public health organizations, and the severe global toll of preterm birth, in 2010 the Illinois General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 111. The resolution stipulated that the Perinatal Advisory Committee of the Illinois Department of Public Health submit a written report by November 2012 providing findings and recommendations on the reduction of preterm births in Illinois. The report, "Preterm Birth in Illinois: Understanding the Problem, Forging a Solution," raises awareness among policymakers, advocacy groups, providers, and the public about this serious problem -- and recommends proven strategies to move Illinois towards the reduction of premature births. The report provided legislators with an overview of the extent and costs of preterm births, outlined known medical and social risk factors of preterm birth, and provided recommendations for evidence-based medical and public health strategies, as well as state system and policy changes, to reduce preterm births. On the NPIHC website, learn more about the Perinatal Advisory Committee's seven recommendations and access slides from a related webinar.

AAP Updates Screening Guide for Retinopathy of Prematurity

In an update to its screening guide, a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement says carefully timed retinal exams should be conducted by a knowledgeable and experienced ophthalmologist on preterm babies at risk for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The policy statement, published December 31 in the journal Pediatrics, revises a 2006 statement on screening preterm infants for ROP. The new statement discusses characteristics of an effective program for detecting and treating ROP, including the timing of initial exams and intervals for subsequent re-examination.

Knowledge Path on Perinatal Maternal Stress & Child Outcomes

Maternal stress during and after pregnancy is associated with premature births; low-birthweight infants; infant mortality; and challenges in health, development, and learning in infancy and early childhood. A new tool from the Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown Library, "Maternal Distress in the Perinatal Period and Child Outcomes Knowledge Path," compiles current knowledge and resources on maternal stress during and after pregnancy. The knowledge path is a helpful tool for health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, and researchers to learn more about maternal stress and child outcomes, to integrate what they know into their work to improve care, for program development, to locate training resources, and to answer specific questions. A separate brief lists resources for families.

HMHB & HER Foundation Blog About HG

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) kicked off the New Year with a new blog post on a timely topic. "Understanding Hyperemesis Gravidarim (HG)," co-authored by Ann Marie King of the HER Foundation and UCLA genetics researcher Dr. Marlena Fejzo, educates about this serious but little-known pregnancy complication which increases risk for preterm birth, small for gestational age, and low birth weight. A condition long underfunded and little understood, HG's public profile has recently been raised by media coverage of Kate Middleton's pregnancy. Britain's Duchess of Cambridge suffers from hypermesis gravidarum and was hospitalized for treatment in late 2012. Many moms and families who have experienced HG are responding to the blog post by sharing their stories and their perspectives, via blog comments and via Facebook and Twitter. We invite you to read and share the blog post, and join the conversation!

Graham's Foundation

Graham's Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 by Jennifer and Nick Hall in memory of their son Graham, offers practical and emotional support to parents of premature babies. The foundation supports parents with care packages for NICU, transition home, and remembrance, as well as through a vibrant online community and social media presence, providing a place for parents to share their stories and find support.


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.