Preemie Matters – November 2014

In this issue of Preemie Matters: What You Should Know About Premature Birth Factsheet • Single-Family Rooms in NICU May Lead to Better Infant Medical Outcomes • World Prematurity Day • Nurtured by Design • SMFM Releases Guideline on Activity Restriction in Pregnancy • Preemies May Have Stronger Immune Systems Than Previously Thought • NANN – Baby Steps to Home Discharge Pathway

HMHB Factsheet: What You Should Know About Premature Birth

Just in time for Prematurity Awareness Month, the National Healthy Babies, Healthy Babies Coalition released a new factsheet,What You Should Know About Premature Birth, highlighting information about causes of prematurity, diagnostic options, and treatment for various prematurity risk factors. Share it with colleagues, patients, and your networks this month and help us improve the health of all babies.

Single-Family Rooms in NICU May Lead to Better Infant Medical Outcomes

A recent study published in Pediatrics reveals significant differences in medical outcomes for infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with single-family rooms compared to infants in a shared, open-bay arrangement. Researchers tracked outcomes of infants in an open-bay NICU for 18 months before the unit was moved to a new single-family room facility. They then tracked successive admissions to the new facility and compared them with the open-bay NICU results. The 151 infants in the study did not differ in terms of gestational age at birth, race, or maternal educational status or ethnicity. The infants in the single-family room intensive care unit weighed more at discharge [compared to those in open-bay NICU], gained weight more rapidly, required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and had less stress, lethargy, and pain. According to the study’s lead author, the privacy, lighting, and having nurses who work one-on-one with the mothers in the single-family room facility made for a more relaxed environment. Further, he explains, “there’s more maternal involvement than in the open bay and more maternal involvement leads to better behavioral and medical outcomes.”

World Prematurity Day: November 17, 2014

The U.S. preterm birth rate has met “Healthy People 2020″ goals seven years early! The nation as a whole still earns a “C” on the annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card – and we still have one of the highest preterm birth rates among wealthy nations.

November 17 was World Prematurity Day, a day to bring attention to the global problem of premature birth. Organizations all around the world raised awareness about premature birth and how it can be prevented, including several NPIHC members who hosted events to mark this important day. Fragile Beginnings and the Massachusetts chapter of March of Dimes held their third annual “Journey Through Prematurity Conference,” a meeting free to all parents of children born prematurely. Preemies Todayhosted a parent and provider conference, “Navigating the Journey Through Childhood,” which included sessions on developmental delays; sensory processing disorders; postpartum post-traumatic stress; nutrition, speech and language tips, and more. Share your World Prematurity Day successes on the NPIHC Facebook page.

Nurtured by Design

Nurtured by Design is an innovative company committed to providing human and ergonomic support for hospitalized infants when their parents are unable to be present. Their products are designed to soothe, position correctly, comfort, and give boundaries and support to help a child sleep. Nurtured by Design combines effective family intervention, maternal and paternal instincts, and ergonomic best practices with the healthcare team in developing its products and services. The company was recently awarded Toyota’s Standing O-Vation Award and a $25,000 grant presented by Oprah Winfrey and Amy Purdy as part of Oprah’s “The Life You Want Weekend”. The award recognized Nurtured by Design’s positive community impact. To learn more, visit their website.

SMFM Releases Guideline on Activity Restriction in Pregnancy

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recently released a new guideline that recommends against the routine use of bed rest in pregnancy. Bed rest has been recommended for a number of potential complications, such as preterm contractions, arrested preterm labor, short cervix, preterm premature rupture of membranes, elevated blood pressure, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, placenta previa, threatened abortion, and multiple gestation. The recent guideline references the results of several studies that did not find an improvement in maternal or neonatal outcomes with the use of activity restriction, but did find an increase in maternal morbidity. The guideline cites numerous side effects of restricted activity including loss of muscle mass, bone mass, plasma volume, and cardiovascular capacity and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and other thrombotic morbidities such as pulmonary embolism. In summary, SMFM advises against the routine use of activity restriction or bed rest during pregnancy for any indication. To view the complete guideline, visit the SMFM website.

Preemies May Have Stronger Immune Systems Than Previously Thought

A new study published in Nature Medicine indicates that premature infants’ immune systems are a lot stronger than suspected. Based on blood samples collected from 28 very premature babies during their first week of life, researchers found that the babies’ immune system T-cells could trigger an inflammatory response to bacteria, which was previously thought to only be possible in adults. The study author Dr. Deena Gibbons, of the department of immunobiology at King’s College London in England stated, “We found that babies have an in-built antibacterial defense mechanism that works differently to adults, but nevertheless may be effective in protecting them. This may also be a mechanism by which the baby protects itself in the womb from infections of the mother.” The study’s results have important implications for developing new treatments to boost babies’ immune systems to help protect them from potentially life-threatening infections.

NANN – Baby Steps to Home Discharge Pathway

Developed by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), Baby Steps to Home is the first standardized, evidence-based discharge pathway designed for nurses. The resource is available online to all hospitals across the country. Baby Steps to Homecontains downloadable documents for professional education, as well as easy-to-understand handouts that nurses can share with parents prior to their baby’s discharge. Included in this resource are:

  • Ten steps of discharge covering 25 topics from common diagnoses to follow-up appointments.
  • Downloadable evidence-based PDFs for nurses.
  • Parent handouts that explain the condition, suggest questions for parents to ask their baby’s providers, and provide practical information and tips.
  • Modifiable parent handouts in English and Spanish that allow users to include their hospital’s logo and other unit-specific information.

For more information about Baby Steps to Home, visit the NANN website.


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.