National Issues on Preterm Birth

Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home

Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home: A Resource Toolkit

A new toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides resources for hospitals looking to improve safety for newborns transitioning home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The toolkit provides guidance on the creation of a Health Coach Program, tools for coaches, and information for parents and families of newborns who have spent time in the NICU.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

Late Preterm Infants: Near Term But Still in a Critical Developmental Time Period

Late Preterm Infants: Near Term But Still in a Critical Developmental Time Period

This review focuses on the long-term neurodevelopmental and respiratory outcomes, with the main aim to suggest putative prenatal, neonatal, developmental, and environmental causes for these increased morbidities. It demonstrates parallelism in the trajectories of pulmonary and neurologic development and evolution as a model for fetal and neonatal maturation. These may suggest the critical developmental time period as the common pathway that leads to the outcomes. Disruption in this pathway with potential long–term consequences in both systems may occur if the intrauterine milieu is disturbed. Finally, the review addresses the practical implications on perinatal and neonatal care during infancy and childhood.

Read the review here.

[Return to Top]

New Therapies Needed to Prevent Lung Injuries in Preemies

A neonatologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the senior author of a large new study that found that current non-invasive techniques for respiratory support are less effective than widely assumed, in reducing the incidence of severe lung injury in very premature infants.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled a new initiative, Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, aimed at lowering prematurity rates under Medicaid and CHIP. Through grant funding, communities with high rates of preterm births will receive support for improving prenatal care. Awards are expected to serve 80,000 women in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

JFK Baby Death in 1963 Sparked Medical Race to Save Preemies

JFK Baby Death in 1963 Sparked Medical Race to Save Preemies

The death of the presidential baby a half a century ago was a critical event, according to historians, one that sparked medical advances that did for the survival of preemies what Sputnik did for the space race.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

Resource Briefs on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Two new resource briefs direct readers to a selection of information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Resources for Professionals directs readers to a selection of resources about the ACA and its major provisions, policy developments, and implementation efforts. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Resources for Families provides information about the ACA and how it will affect families in each state. The resource briefs were developed by the University of Miami Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND), the University of South Florida College of Public Health MCH Leadership Training Program, the University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center (PPC) Leadership Training Program, and the MCH Library at Georgetown University, all of which are funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).

Professionals | Families

[Return to Top]

AAP Updates Screening Guide for Retinopathy of Prematurity

For the effective detection of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), at-risk infants should receive carefully timed retinal examinations (based on their gestational age) by an ophthalmologist experienced in the examination of preterm infants, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement published online Dec. 31 in Pediatrics.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

AWHONN's "Go the Full 40" Campaign

Don't Rush Me!

The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is promoting its "Don't Rush Me... Go the Full 40" campaign, encouraging pregnant women who are healthy and well to wait for spontaneous labor.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

Resource for understanding connection between maternal stress and premature births

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," features current knowledge and resources on maternal stress during and after pregnancy. This 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.

Click here to learn more.

[Return to Top]

United States' Preterm Birth Rate Continues to Decline

preemie baby

The rate of preterm births has declined to 11.7 percent, the lowest rate in a decade, according to the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card.

The March of Dimes Report Card compares each state's preterm birth rate with the goal set by the March of Dimes of lowering the rate to 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020. The report tracks states' progress towards lowering their preterm birth rates and assesses contributory factors.

According to the report, the U.S. preterm birth rate dropped for the fifth consecutive year in 2011, to 11.7 percent, with declines seen in every racial and ethnic group. The largest declines in preterm birth occurred among babies born at 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Vermont, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Maine met the 9.6 percent preterm birth rate goal and consequently earned an "A" on their Report Cards. As a whole, the United States earned a "C" on the Report Card, and 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico saw improvements in their preterm birth rates in 2012. The improved rates are likely due to an increase in successful programs and interventions. The March of Dimes estimates potential savings of about $3 billion in health care and costs to society from the reduction in preterm births.

"These results demonstrate that many premature births can be prevented with the right policies and bold leadership," Jennifer L. Howse, Ph.D., president of the March of Dimes, said in a statement. "Our national progress in reducing premature births over the past five years shows that when infant health becomes a priority, babies benefit."

To view the full 2012 Premature birth report cards, click here.

[Return to Top]

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth provides the first-ever national, regional and global estimates of preterm birth. The report shows the extent to which preterm birth is on the rise in most countries, and is now the second leading cause of death globally for children under five, after pneumonia.

Addressing preterm birth is now an urgent priority for reaching Millennium Development Goal 4, which calls for the reduction of child deaths by two-thirds by 2015. This report shows that rapid change is possible and identifies priority actions for everyone. Born Too Soon proposes actions for policy, programs and research by all partners – from governments to NGOs to the business community – that if acted upon, will substantially reduce the toll of preterm birth, especially in high-burden countries.

To read the full article and download the report, click here.

[Return to Top]

Useful Information
See Our Advocacy Resource Guide View Tips on Caring for Preemies Sign up for email alerts Join an advocacy network near you
PreemieVoices on Flickr