NCfIH Marks RSV Awareness Month with Release of New “Fast Facts”

October marks the beginning of both the RSV viral season and RSV awareness month.  The National Coalition for Infant Health is taking the opportunity to release a new “Fast Facts ” educational resource on the virus, its impact, and its danger for infants, especially preemies whose health plans don’t cover preventive treatment.


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Infant Health Bulletin Offers “Fast Facts” on Pregnant Women and Fish Consumption

Sensationalized media accounts have misconstrued the facts on pregnancy and fish consumption, explains a new Fast Facts health bulletin from the National Coalition for Infant Health. Entitled “Fish Consumption for Pregnant Women,” the bulletin highlights guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Together, these authorities shape a unified message: two to three servings of cooked fish each week offer pregnant women and growing children proven health benefits.

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‘Preemie Matters’ Summit Assembles Health Care Providers, Experts and Members of Congress to Explore High-Risk Infant Health Issues

The Institute for Patient Access and National Coalition for Infant Health Host Washington, DC Summit with Keynote Speaker Nancy Grace

WASHINGTON, JUNE 18, 2015 – On June 24-25 the Institute for Patient Access and the National Coalition for Infant Health will host the Preemie Matters National Policy Summit in Washington, DC, to explore access challenges facing the nation’s premature infants and their families.  Held at Union Station and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, the policy summit will feature remarks by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), as well as a keynote luncheon address by Nancy Grace, CNN host and mother of premature twins.

“Each year in the United States premature infants face grave and far-reaching health challenges, generate jaw-dropping health care costs and struggle to access the treatment they need,” explained National Coalition for Infant Health Medical Director Mitchell Goldstein, MD.  “The Preemie Matters summit will provide the foundation for a national strategy to guide the coalition in educating policymakers, the public, and media on issues regarding access and appropriate clinical care standards.”

Top neonatal experts from around the country will lead summit discussions about: (1) protecting infants from infectious disease; (2) optimal health and the nutrition of preterm infants; (3) what preemies and their parents need while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; 4) how to adequately transition these infants into the community; and (5) how to ensure optimal health through age two. Attendees include individual health care providers, congressional leaders and staff, representatives from national nursing and physician organizations, and national and regional preemie parent organizations.

Experts include: Judy Bernbaum, MD, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania; Amy Hair, MD, Texas Children’s Hospital; Martin Lee, PhD, Prolacta Bioscience; Trish MacEnroe, Baby-Friendly USA; Diane Spatz, PhD, University of Pennsylvania; Suzanne Staebler, DNP, Emory University; and Ram Yogev, MD, Northwestern University.

Every year, 450,000 babies – one in every nine – are born premature. Prematurity is the leading associated cause of infant death during the first year of life. Premature infants who do survive often face lifelong disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments, feeding and GI complications, cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, learning difficulties and other mental disabilities. Parents of premature infants often face emotional and financial struggles, with the economic toll of premature care on the nation’s health care system totaling more than $26 billion each year. 

The summit, sponsored by the Institute for Patient Access, MedImmune / Astra Zeneca, Competitive Edge and Prolacta Bioscience, will begin with a welcome reception at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at the Columbus Club at Union Station. The plenary session will be held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Thursday, June 25 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The events on June 24-25 are open to the press. Press interested in attending should RSVP to Susan Hepworth, no later than Wednesday, June 24.


The quietest voice on Capitol Hill

by Mitchell Goldstein, M.D.
The Hill, June 15, 2015

Capitol Hill can get noisy this time of year.  So many advocates, causes, meetings, rallies, constituents – all vying with one another for the attention of our elected officials.  But among these is a “quiet” group; in fact, a voiceless one.  And yet, they desperately need Congress’ attention.  These are the premature infants, who face grave and far-reaching health challenges, which create disproportionate healthcare costs and result in difficulty accessing the treatment they need. 

These infants require Congress’ attention.  One in nine babies is born premature, defined as before 37 weeks gestation.  But prematurity maintains a relatively low profile.  Their parents are often young and uneducated and unable or unwilling to challenge the system. Further, they are taxed with unexpected challenges as well as overwhelming medical expenses. The average hospital stay for a premature infant is nine times longer than that of a full-term baby, greater than $52,000 on average.  For many parents, these costs can be not only stressful but financially devastating.

Expenses pose a staggering burden for the nation’s health care system as well. The United States welcomes approximately 450,000 premature babies each year.  The annual nationwide cost of their stays in Neonatal Intensive Care Units totals $26 billion. Despite progress in the prevention of prematurity, we can do better.

Premature birth takes a heavy toll on America’s families.   Prematurity is the number one associated cause in infant death during the first year of life.  Preemies who do survive may have unexpected complications, such as hearing or visual impairments, cerebral palsy or mental retardation.  

The challenges continue in childhood and adulthood.  For some premature infants, respiratory syncytial virus will wreak havoc on their underdeveloped lungs and fragile immune systems.  They may have to return to the intensive care unit and be placed on assisted ventilation in order to survive. Some require heart lung bypass or ECMO.  Childhood asthma is highly associated with prematurity.  Chronic lung disease, learning difficulties, behavior and social-emotional concerns, and poor health and growth may continue to affect these babies for the rest of their lives. 

And which families face these challenges most frequently?  Those already affected by disparity.  African American mothers are more likely than white mothers to deliver premature infants. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the rate is almost twice that of white or Hispanic mothers. Socio-economic disparities and the mothers’ inability to access quality prenatal care can further complicate these infants’ prognosis.

Congress must shape policy that protects these infants’ by supporting access to the care, optimal nutrition and treatment advised by their health care providers.  We must take care to see that preemies, especially those burdened with multiple disparities – health challenges, socio-economic concerns, racial barriers – have an equal opportunity at getting the health care they need. In a health care environment strapped by a need to curtail costs, we cannot let premature infants fall prey to budget-conscious policies that restrict their access to the medications and care they desperately need.  We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our most fragile premature infants. These policies that limit lifesaving preventative measures can contribute to poor outcomes and perpetuate the cycle.

This is our rallying cry. On behalf of health care providers, parents and advocates of fragile preemies united, I urge Congress to listen.

Goldstein is a neonatologist in Loma Linda, CA and chairman of the National Coalition for Infant Health.

Preemie Matters – November 2014

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

Member Spotlight – Nurtured by Design

Member Spotlight – 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. 

Preemie Matters - August 2014

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NICU Helping Hands • Preemie Parent Alliance Summit • Online Calculator Predicts Sepsis in NICU Newborns • High-Volume Neonatal Units May Increase Survival for Preterm Newborns • Late Preterm Birth May Alter Brain Growth • RSV Prophylactic Policy Statement from AAP

NICU Helping Hands

NICU Helping Hands-Family Support for Fragile Beginnings was first created in response to the growing need in Fort Worth, Texas for a local organization to support preemie families during their stay in the NICU and transition home. Their reach has since expanded nationwide to provide emotional, educational, and financial support to parents coping with the challenges of having a premature infant. Programs include mentorships that connect NICU families with experienced graduate families, opportunities for parent and professional education, and a robust hospital program, Project NICU, to enhance the support and education that NICU staff provide to families. In addition, NICU Helping Hands' Angel Gown Program comforts grieving families in the hospital by providing a beautiful infant burial gown to honor their child. To learn more, visit their website.

Preemie Parent Alliance Summit: September 12-14, 2014

The Preemie Parent Alliance (PPA) will host its annual summit September 12-14 in Phoenix, Arizona. This weekend-long event will bring together preemie parent leaders from across the country to learn about the latest research in family support and preemie development and to share best practices and ideas for reaching families affected by preterm birth. New topics this year include: "Newborn Behavior Observation," "Resolving through Sharing," "Big Data in the NICU," and "Forming Lasting Partnerships." Among this year's speakers are Alan R. Spitzer, MD-- a leader in academic neonatal medicine, Jill Wilke, RN, BSN, CPLC-- Lead Educator for Resolve Through Sharing at Bereavement Services, and Nick Hall-- Graham's Foundation President. For more information and to register for the summit, visit the PPA website.

Online Calculator Predicts Sepsis in NICU Newborns

Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research has developed an online calculator to help NICU providers predict if newborn babies are at risk for sepsis, a much more comprehensive method than previously used. By entering in the gestational age, the highest maternal antepartum temperature, rupture of membranes (ROM), and other information related to the pregnancy, the calculator yields a probability of early-onset sepsis per 1,000 babies. The calculator employs an algorithm based on extensive research using patient data from Kaiser's electronic health records. They are also using large data sets to determine ways to reduce bowel infections in preterm infants, the time the infants spend in the NICU, and the frequency of blood-stream infections they acquire from central intravenous lines.

High-Volume Neonatal Units May Increase Survival for Preterm Newborns

In a new study published in BMJ Open, researchers in the UK determined that high-volume neonatal units were associated with increased chances of survival for prematurely born infants. The neonatal units were defined as high-volume if they provided at least 3,480 days of care each year to babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. The researchers examined 17,955 premature infants (born between 27-32 weeks of pregnancy) and 2,559 very premature infants (born after less than 27 weeks) admitted to 165 British National Health Service hospital neonatal units in England. Of these babies, the increase in survival rate ranged from 30 percent for premature babies to 50 percent for very premature babies if they were admitted to a high-volume unit. The researchers emphasized that their findings have important implications for policymakers deciding the future organization of neonatal care.

Late Preterm Birth May Alter Brain Growth

A recent study published in Radiology conducted by Walsh and colleagues from Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia concluded that late preterm babies experience different brain development than babies born full-term. The study involved performing MRI exams on 199 late preterm infants born between 32 and 36 weeks and 50 infants born after 37 weeks gestation. Walsh was surprised to learn the extent of brain formation differences that the late preterm babies exhibited compared to their full-term counterparts, "Many areas of the brain were affected, and their brains looked less mature than might have been anticipated." The late preterm infants displayed less-developed myelination and immature gyral folding, essential processes in early brain development that could potentially result in intellectual challenges, cerebral palsy, and difficulties breathing, seeing, and hearing. In response to the study's finding, Dr. Edward McCabe, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes, reiterated the importance of allowing pregnancies to reach full term to ensure optimal brain development. The researchers acknowledged that further research is needed to determine what these brain differences mean and whether they will lead to adverse long-term health effects.

RSV Prophylactic Policy Statement from AAP

The AAP's Committee on Infectious Diseases and Bronchiolitis Guidelines Committee--in collaboration with other AAP groups and external partners--recently revised their guidance on palivizumab prophylaxis (Synagis®) for the prevention of severe lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in high-risk pediatric patients. Most notably, palivizumab prophylaxis is now only recommended for infants at less than 29 weeks gestation and for infants with chronic lung disease who require supplemental oxygen for more than 28 days after birth. Prophylaxis is not recommended during the second year of life except under certain circumstances, nor is monthly prophylaxis recommended for children who experience a breakthrough RSV hospitalization. A detailed summary of the updated guidance is available in AAP's official policy statement and technical report. The NPIHC supports parent and professional input on guidelines. To provide comments or review the PreemieWorld petition, click here.


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.

NANN - Baby Steps To Home Discharge Pathway

Developed by the National Association of Neonatal NursesBaby 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 Home contains 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 you to include your hospital's logo and other unit-specific information

For more information about Baby Steps to Home, visit their website at

Preemie Matters - May 2014

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NICU Transition Toolkit • AWHONN Convention • Breast Milk Benefit to Preemies  • Gut Bacteria Linked to Infections in Preterm Babies • Parents of Preemies Day • Burnout in the NICU

AHRQ's Transitioning Newborns from the NICU to Their New Home Toolkit

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently launched a toolkit to enhance the process through which infants are discharged from the NICU. The Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home Toolkit, with resources for medical professionals and parents to create a smooth and safe transition into the home environment for fragile newborn infants, includes: Health Coach Programs, Information Packets for Families, NICU Needs Assessment, Clinical Materials to Share with Primary Care Providers, and Follow up Telephone Surveys. This free-of-charge manual was designed to be adapted for any institution that cares for preemies and other fragile newborns.


The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is a nonprofit membership organization committed to improving and promoting the the health of women and newborns, as well as strengthening the nursing profession through research, education, and advocacy. AWHONN provides nurses and other professionals with clinical resources, guidelines, publications, and extensive support. AWHONN will host their annual convention June 14-18 at the Disney Coronado Spring Resort in Orlando, Florida. Attendees at the upcoming convention will be inspired to become better healthcare providers, leaders, and professionals in their field.

Breast Milk Confers Benefits to Preemies

According to data presented at the 2014 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, maternal breast milk confers important benefits to preterm infants. Dr. Katherine Gregory and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital concluded that feeding with maternal breast milk may not only help establish an optimal pattern of infant gut microbiota, but may also help protect against the use of antibiotics at birth. The researchers investigated the effect of different feeding patterns on the establishment of preterm infants' intestinal microbiota. Thirty preterm infants aged less than 32 weeks' gestation received either maternal breast milk, pasteurized donor human milk, or infant formula. The study found that all groups experienced a high frequency of Staphylococcus during the two weeks of observation, but those fed breast milk had the lowest incidence. Additionally, the infants given breast milk lost fewer phylotypes after exposure to antibiotics and recovered their microbiota more quickly compared to the infants in the other groups. "The analyses underscore the importance of feeding in establishment of the preterm infant intestinal microbiota," say the researchers.

Gut Bacteria Can Cause Life-Threatening Infection in Preterm Babies

A new study published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal suggests that twenty percent of premature infants are at risk for contracting the life-threatening bloodstream infection, late-onset sepsis. Little is known about the environment in which sepsis flourishes, which motivated researchers to conduct a cohort study of 217 premature infants at risk for sepsis. Senior author Dr. Philip Tarr stated, "The germ that invades the infant's blood flourishes in their gastrointestinal tracts for at least a few days before it causes sepsis." Additionally, the researchers determined that "infants whose NICU stays overlapped occasionally transmit the bacterial infection to other infants." The findings from this study should be used by healthcare professionals to develop a treatment strategy for this life-threatening bloodstream infection to protect the health of the fragile infants in the NICU.

Parents of Preemies Day

Parents of Preemies Day (PoPD) is a day of awareness created to recognize the courage and commitment of millions of preemie parents who stay strong and resilient during an extremely challenging time. On May 4th, hundreds of parents across the country celebrated the 4th annual PoPD through community events, NICU reunion events, at home, in NICUs, and online via the second annual PoPD Twitter chat. Thanks to coverage from  BlogHer, preemie parent bloggers, and various newspapers, more people now know about Parents of Preemies Day than ever before! Learn more about the day on Facebook or

NICU Workers Report up to 54% Burnout

An analysis of a survey administered to healthcare workers at 44 NICUs reported burnout rates from 7.5 percent to 54.5 percent, according to a study in BMJ Quality and Safety. Non-physician staff members tended to report more burnout than physicians. Higher burnout rates were associated with the lack of a teamwork-like environment, lower job satisfaction, lower management skills, and poor working conditions. Overall, NICU caregiver burnout is correlated with lower perceptions of an organization's commitment of a patient safety culture.


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.

Premature Infant Advocacy Toolkit

This toolkit provides you with information, guidance and resources designed to help you become a knowledgeable and skilled advocate for premature infants. It is designed to be a resource for people at all stages of advocacy involvement from those with a specific area of interest who have several hours per week to research the issues and take part in activities to those who can only spare an hour or two every few months to participate in an event, address an issue or challenge or write a letter to their local legislator.

AHRQ - Transitioning Newborns from the NICU to the Home Toolkit

This toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides resources to hospitals that wish to improve the safety at which newborns are transitioned home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The implementation of health coach programs, availability of coaching tools, and numerous other tools were designed to increase the safety at which fragile newborn infants are introduced into the home environment.


Preemie Matters – February 2014

In this issue of Preemie Matters: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement and Clinical Reports on Preemie Care • Preemies Today •Talking to Preemies in the NICU Improves Language Skills  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Symposium • Increasing Human Milk Consumption in the NICU  • Mark Your Calendar for 2014 Conference

AAP Policy Statement & Clinical Reports on Preemie Care

A new policy statement and two clinical reports published last month by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) address the care of preterm infants. The policy statement covers respiratory support at birth, suggesting that clinicians consider the use of CPAP at or soon after birth with subsequent selective surfactant, as an alternative to routine intubation with prophylactic or early surfactant administration. A clinical report on surfactant replacement therapy updates a 2008 clinical report and underscores the policy statement's message about the use of CPAP. The second clinical report provides guidance, a literature review, and a cost-benefit analysis on the use of inhaled nitric oxide for preemies.

Preemies Today

Preemies Today is a nonprofit organization based in the Washington, D.C. area that provides families with the latest prematurity education, a parent-to-parent support group, preemie care packages, hosts family outings, and initiated a local preemie playgroup. Preemies Today sends out a monthly e-newsletter, hosts Facebook chats, and can also be found on Twitter. Along with the SIDS Mid-Atlantic group, Preemies Today will host a support group on Thursday, March 6th for anyone affected by the loss of a baby. The event's goal is to provide an inclusive, understanding, and patient environment where families and preemies can come together for support, education, and to discuss their own NICU experiences.

Talking to Preemies in the NICU Improve Language Skills

new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that exposing preemies to more adult, conversational language in the NICU pays off in their language abilities at 18 months, leading researchers to conclude: "We need to provide more information to families about the importance of talking to these babies in the neonatal ICU." The study - which included a cohort of 36 preterm infants with average age of gestation of 27 weeks and average weight 2.7 pounds - found that for every increase of 100 adult words per hour a baby heard at 32 weeks, there was a 2-point improvement in language scores. "Children learn from conversations going on around them, but the back and forth communication is the most important," says senior author Dr. Betty Vohr, Alpert Medical School at Brown University. "This just really involves talking to moms and informing them that you have an important role here, and you can make a big difference for your baby."

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Symposium

Pennsylvania Premie Network will host a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Symposium, "Understanding the Care and Management of the Addicted Mother and Baby," March 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at two on-site locations -Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA - in addition to webinar. Attendance is free and lunch will be provided at this event aimed at neonatologists, pediatricians, ob/gyns, nurses and nurse practitioners, NICU staff, newborn nursery staff, early intervention professionals, and agencies serving preterm babies and their families. The symposium includes two morning speakers sessions, followed by an afternoon panel discussion. For more information, contact Dottie Schell, Program Director, Pennsylvania Premie Network,1-888-523-6122 (PA only) or (484) 446-3061.

Increasing Human Milk Consumption in the NICU

Breastfeeding basics for all RNs, human milk donations for all infants under 33 weeks, and becoming a collection site for donated milk are just three best practices that emerged from Medela's new effort highlighting successes in increasing human milk consumption in the NICU. After a nationwide call for submissions for its Human Milk Breast Practices in the NICU, Medela is supporting first place winner Memorial Hospital of Gulfport, Mississippi and runner up Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio with $10,000 and $5,000 in product awards, respectively. NICUs working to increase human milk consumption around preemies can learn more about these leading strategies.


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.

Preemie Matters – December 2013

In this issue of Preemie Matters: Facebook Chat on Maternal Mental Health & Preemie Moms • PREEMIE Reauthorization Act Becomes Law • Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) • Preemie Dads' Experiences in the NICU • Preterm Births Decline Among Black Americans • Mark Your Calendar for 2014 Conferences

Facebook Chat on Maternal Mental Health & Preemie Moms

Thanks to all who participated in last month's informative and inspiring Facebook chat on the NPIHC page! The November 14 event on maternal mental health and preemie moms featured speakers Dr. Lisa Osborn, Kasey Mathews, Laura Martin, and Michele Rosenthal, and brought together experts in the field and parents who've had first-hand experiences with trauma, depression, and anxiety after a preterm birth. The successful chat had 94 attendees over the course of the hour, 107 comments, and a 92% active engagement rate among attendees. Missed it? You can access the archived conversation on our website or Facebook chat tab.

PREEMIE Reauthorization Act Becomes Law

President Barack Obama signed S. 252, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, into law on November 27, reauthorizing federal research, education, and intervention activities related to preterm birth and infant mortality. The legislation was authored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Ann Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ). It had broad support from our member organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), and National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN). The original PREEMIE Act brought the first national focus to prematurity prevention, leading to the Surgeon General's Conference on the Prevention of Preterm Birth which generated a public-private agenda for innovative research and support for evidence-based preventive interventions. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act extends these efforts.

Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP)

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) is a national organization dedicated to disseminating best practices, advocating on members' behalf, providing technical assistance, convening leaders, and advising states to reach a common goal of healthy children, families, and communities. AMCHP's members directly serve women and children nationwide by administering critical public health education and screening services, and coordinating preventive, primary and specialty care. The organization also recognizes leadership in maternal and child health in several ways, including annual awards presented to MCH leaders, honoring excellence in the field. These awards will be presented at AMCHP's upcoming Annual Conference.

Preemie Dads' Experiences in the NICU

A new study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN) finds that while the fathers of NICU preemies tend to experience strong emotions, they often don't express them outwardly - a discrepancy that can lead healthcare professionals to under-appreciate dads' needs. The research was a focused ethnography collected between 2003-2006 in the neonatal ICU of a large U.K. teaching hospital, collecting data through participant observation, in-depth interviews with dads, and an ethnographic of NICU staff. The findings showed that preemie fathers worked hard at balancing tensions between what they wanted to feel, what they actually felt, and what they perceived others expected their feelings and behaviors to be. The authors say these insights could help NICU professionals improve communication with and support of dads.

Preterm Births Decline Among Black Americans

Good news for maternal and child health: According to a recent CDC report, preterm births among black Americans fell between the years 2006 and 2010. For non-Hispanic black infants, the prematurity rate was 17.1% in 2010 - down from 18.5% in 2006 - as determined by final birth certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System. Despite this progress, disparities remain a challenge. The preterm birth rate for black babies was still approximately 60% higher than for white babies. Nationally, the preterm birth rate was 12%.

Mark Your Calendar for 2014 Conferences

The new year begins with a number of professional, educational, and networking opportunities for professionals and parent leaders in prematurity. Registration is now open for AMCHP's Annual Conference in Washington, DC, January 25-28. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's Annual Conference takes place February 3-8 in New Orleans, and NEO: The Conference for Neonatology will be in Orlando, February 20-23. Let us know what your organization is planning for 2014, so we can share the news via NPIHC's Facebook page and 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.

Facebook Chat: Maternal Mental Health and Preemie Moms

This archived chat, hosted on the NPIHC Facebook page on November 14, 2013, was a dialogue on mental health issues affecting preemie moms with maternal mental health experts and parents who have first-hand experience with trauma, depression, and anxiety after giving birth to preemies. Since mothers of preterm infants are at significantly increased risk for maternal mental health disorders and don't always find the help and support they need, it's critical that parents have the opportunity to connect with each other and learn from professionals. Participants included Laura Martin, Dr. Lisa Osborn, Kasey Mathews, and Michele Rosenthal. The chat is available on the NPIHC Facebook page (live chat tab from November 14) and below. Thank you to all of those who participated in the chat!