Displaying items by tag: preemie industry news
Friday, 02 December 2011 10:27

Breastfeeding & Pain in Preemies

Not only is pain in preemie babies upsetting annd stressful for parents, if pain is not managed well it can have serious negative consequences, both short- and long-term. It can affect preemie babies' ongoing sensitivity to pain, stress arousal systems, and brain development. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) pain associated with procedures such as pricking for blood tests are managed with interventions such as skin-to-skin care, swaddling, nesting, pacifiers, nonnutritive sucking, and sweet tastes. Breastfeeding, a natural, simple alternative, offers simultaneously the pain-reducing components of familiar odor, maternal skin-to-skin contact, sucking, and the ingestion of breast milk. In babies who are born full term, it has been reported that breastfeeding during painful procedures can reduce the pain response by 80 to 90% without producing any negative side effects. This approach had not been evaluated in preemie babies, in part due to a concern preemie babies may associate breastfeeding with pain, which could affect their ability to feed effectively and gain weight, as well impact mother-baby bonding.

Recently, a randomized control trial conducted by investigators from the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children's Hospital and The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, had their results of a study investiagting this very issue in PAIN (which is a scientific journal).

This research study looked at whether breastfeeding during the painful procedure would have a negative impact on the development of breastfeeding skills, and whether preemie babies who had more mature breastfeeding behaviors would have lower pain scores and heart rates during blood collection than less experienced feeders.

The results from the study showed that for the preemie group as a whole, breastfeeding did not reduce either behavioral or physiological pain during blood collection. But importantly, there were negative affects on breastfeeding skill development either. Preemie babies who were more advanced in their ability to feed did have significantly lower behavioral pain scores.

Published in Industry News

The Victorian Brain Infants Studies (VIBeS) began a very important research project in January 2005, which aimed to establish if receiving developmental care at home was more beneficial than the current standard care, the study is known as the VIBeS Plus program.

There are around 3,000 very low birth weight (less than 1500 grams) or very preterm infants (less than 30 weeks gestational age) born each year in Australia. Survival rates for these very preterm infants have improved dramatically in the last few decades to be greater than 85%, however a significant proportion of children experience movement, behavioural or social problems which have life-long consequences. Early intervention programs, such as the VIBeS Plus program may reduce these risks. To date, the success of these programs has not been fully established.

The original VIBeS Plus study was a randomised control trial of a preventative care intervention. There were 120 families who participated and were randomised to either the “intervention group” or “control group”. The intervention designed by the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) team, consisted of 9 visits over the first year of life, conducted by 2 teams comprising a psychologist and a physiotherapist who were specially trained to deliver the intervention program. The intervention aimed to educate the primary caregivers about infant self-regulation and techniques for improving postural stability, coordination, and strength and to support the parents’ mental health and parent infant relationship throughout the first year. Each session lasted ~1.5 to 2.0 hours and was conducted in the family home, with a few exceptions in which the infants were seen in the hospital. Both groups were offered an MRI scan of their infant's brain at term corrected age.

Many of the neurobehavioral impairments described in preterm children persist into adolescence and adulthood. Further, caregivers of very preterm survivors experience high rates of mental health problems. Studies examining the effectiveness of early developmental intervention programs designed to reduce the burden of developmental problems report short-term benefits for infants and their caregivers.

VIBeS Plus previously demonstrated that at 2 years the early preventive care program improved preterm infants’ behavioural outcomes and reduced primary caregivers’ anxiety and depression. The follow-up study conducted at age 4 years showed that home-based preventive care over the first year had selective long-term benefits. There were meaningful differences in the thinking and learning, language and motor scores between treatment groups. Also, children in the intervention group showed less attention problems, such as ADHD, and behavior difficulties as well as increased competence compared with the controls.

Given the important role of parenting on child development, it is possible that the full benefits of this preventive care program will not be observed until later in development. Thus it is vital to determine whether early preventative care programs have long-term benefits beyond early development and preschool years. VIBeS Plus are currently following up this group of preterm children at school-age. Follow-up at school age is ideal for assessing the usefulness of this program, as this is when brain development and social maturation are relatively stable, and when the social demands of the environment (primary school) are also relatively consistent.

Published in Industry News
Friday, 06 January 2012 13:44

Parent Talk: Important for Preemies

An article recently published in the journal of Pediatrics reported that preterm babies who are exposed to their parents’ voices while in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU for short) have better vocalizations at 32 and 36 weeks gestational age.

A number of studies have reported that speech and language development can be delayed in preterm babies. The environment that a preterm baby is exposed to in the NICU is vastly different than that of a fetus of the same gestational age. The NICU exposes preterm babies to high levels of noise, yet while they are in the isolette little language is audible unless it is directed into the hole of the isolette. In contrast, while a fetus is in utero, mother’s voice is a major stimulus and this occurs during the development of the auditory system.

Numerous studies have reported on the importance of early language experience for normal development of speech and language processing; the more a parent talks to their children, the faster their vocabularies grow and the higher the child’s IQ. Since early language experience and exposure is important for language development and IQ, it is important to understand the experience of very preterm babies in the NICU because their sensory experience is so different to babies born full term.

Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics, Women and Infants Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island conducted a study to determine whether preterm babies exposed to more adult language would make more vocalizations. Vocalizations include any utterances, sounds made by the baby.

The study included 36 preterm babies with birth weights of 1250 grams or less and 16-hour recordings of the preterm baby’s environment in the NICU at 32 and 36 weeks’ gestational age were carried out. The researchers found that infant vocalizations were detected as early as 32 weeks and this increased significantly up to 36 weeks, this means that preterm babies start making vocalizations at least 8 weeks earlier than the typical starting date for a newborn baby. They also found that the number of conversational turns per hour were much higher when a parent was present.

The researchers conclude that for preterm babies, exposure to parental talk was a strong predictor of vocalizations at 32 weeks and conversational turns at 32 and 36 weeks than language from other adults. This highlights the importance of parent talk for preterm babies while in the NICU.

Published in Industry News
Friday, 21 October 2011 07:57

Antenatal & Postnatal Depression

Preemie Help would like to introduce the newest expert to contribute an article in their area of expertise. Natalie Worth is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of women with post natal adjustment and depression issues.

Post Natal depression is sometimes referred to as Postpartum depression, whereas Post Natal and Ante Natal Depression are also both called Perinatal depression or PND for short.

Both antenatal and postnatal depression have long been significant issues, for women in particular, which has largely been avoided and not spoken of. The good news is, the conversations around this topic are increasing and women are more likely to discuss, report, or seek help for perinatal depression compared with 10 years ago. The other very important issue is that perinatal depression often responds very well to early detection followed by well chosen treatment, under good medical and psychological direction.

Natalie Worth is an expert in this area and helps many families with perinatal depression, inlcuding parents of preemies. Her tails are as follows;

  • Natalie Worth
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Adelaide Hills South Australia
  • Mobile number 0413 984 724
  • Fax Number 8388 0745
  • Individual and Group Therapy

Natalie sees women with post natal adjustment and depression issues and offer groups and one to one services. Currently the groups have openings and she can offer a one off interview prior to joining a group and then in 1 month or so, she will have more one to one counselling spots available too. Natalie is based in Littlehampton South Australia - her contact details for clients and workers is 0413 984 724. She is able to offer Medicare rebates for clients who are GP referred with a mental health care plan , and her current gap is $30.20, with some discounts and the group out of pocket fee is lower than this too.

Published in Industry News
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 20:06

Pacemaker to Stop Premature Birth

The latest in scientific research sees a "pacemaker" being developed to help prevent premature birth!

The "pacemaker" is composed of electrodes which deliver mild bursts of electricity to stop muscles in the womb contracting - it has recently just completed a clinical trial.

The rates of premature birth have been increasing putting more babies at risk for short and long term health difficulties so more and more research efforts are being put behind ways to help prevent preterm birth.

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 17:36

World Preemie Day Competition

Calling all budding writers! Join in the fun of World Prematurity Month by entering the preemiehelp.com best short story or poem competition and you’ll have the chance to win great prizes including, the preemiehelp.com ebook, “The Preemie Guide to: Surviving the NICU.” and a $100 Earlybirds Gift voucher from www.earlybirdsbabywear.com

In 500 words maximum engage our imagination by sharing your experience in the NICU. You have a unique perspective as a mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, or friend...?

To enter, visit Earlybirds facebook page at www.facebook.com/earlybirds and make a comment, and then email your story to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the title “short story competition”

Best entries will appear on preemiehelp.com and competition winners will be announced on the 17th November.

Published in Industry News
Saturday, 27 October 2012 13:27

Caffeine & Preterm Infants

Caffeine therapy is frequently used to reduce apnea in infants born preterm. It has been shown to improve both short- and long-term outcomes in preemies born less than 1,250 grams. In an Australia study called Caffeine in Apnea of Prematurity (CAP for short) the proportion of infants with lung injury called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) was lower when caffeine treatment started within the first 10 days of life compared with a placebo. Additionally, these researchers found that at 18 months preemies were less likely to be developmentally delayed or have cerebral palsy.

It is thought that the improvement in neurological outcome for preterm babies who have received caffeine therapy is due to the effect on cerebral white matter. Researchers from the CAP study reported that preemies who received caffeine for apnea may have more mature cerebral white matter organization. They also suggest that caffeine may be exerting a direct neuroprotective effect

The CAP study is now in the process of looking at the long-term outcome following caffeine treatment and will perform neuropsychological, lung functioning, and imaging analyzes on these children at age 11 years.

Published in Industry News
Monday, 10 December 2012 17:45

L’il Aussie Prems Foundation

L’il Aussie Prems Foundation is Australia’s largest online support community and forum for families of prematurely born children and sick newborns. They are a voluntary not-for-profit organisation set up to provide online support, raise awareness, bring parents together who have traveled a similar path whilst encouraging families to share their personal and unique journey through our website. No matter where families are located geographically, our website and support services are assessable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Foundation’s website was initially established in 2007 by a premmie mum who gave birth to her first son at 27 weeks gestation. The forum and website continue to offer a lifeline to families. In October 2012, with the goal of expanding the online support provided to families, L’il Aussie Prems Foundation became a registered charity, incorporated in the state of Victoria.

The Foundations committee members are all parents who have each experienced a very personal and unique journey after the premature birth of their children. As members of the forum community for many years, they each understand the vulnerability parents feel in a similar situation, the importance of an online community and the integral role the Foundation plays with offering a safe and supportive environment to each family.

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 11:42

Psychiatric Risk for Preemies

BABIES born very preterm, before 32 weeks' gestation, have higher rates of psychiatric disorders by school age compared with their peers.

A study by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne shows a number of factors that predict which very preterm children are at higher risk. These factors include brain abnormalities soon after birth, a history of social-emotional problems and social risk.

Social risk factors include family structure, education of primary caregiver, language spoken at home and mother's age when the child was born.

Lead researcher, clinical psychologist Dr Karli Treyvaud says the results offer hope as the risk factors can be identified early in life, increasing the opportunity for intervention.

The study, which included 177 very preterm children (VPT) and 65 children born at term, found almost one quarter of the VPT children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder by age seven. This is three times higher than their peer group.

The most common diagnoses were anxiety disorders (11 per cent), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (10 per cent) and autism spectrum disorders (4.5 per cent).

The rate of autism among children born pre-term was about four times higher than recent Australian population estimates. Dr Treyvaud said the 11 per cent of children born pre-term in the study who had anxiety disorders compared with 8 per cent for those born full-term.

For ADHD, the 10 per cent of children born pre-term who had the condition compared with 3 per cent born full-term.

Published in Industry News
Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:29

Preemie Mom's Needed!

New Study - Get Involved! “Mother-to-Infant Attachment for Preterm Infants in the NICU: Relationship to Mother’s Intervention Participation and Infant Visitation”

About the Researcher:

I’m Jenny, mother to 4 ½-year-old son, Henry, who was born a preemie at 34 weeks. Now, I’m a doctoral student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio investigating mother’s activities in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the mother-infant relationship that develops for premature infants during the first year of life.

Current Projects Description:

The attachment process between mothers and preterm infants on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is not well understood. This study will investigate the relationship between mother-to-infant attachment and two factors: amount of maternal infant visitation in the NICU and amount of maternal participation in six NICU interventions (kangaroo care, infant massage, infant-directed singing, NICU preparation, parent-to-parent support, services from support persons on NICU staff). Mother’s infant visitation in the NICU was chosen to be measured based on its connection to key aspects related to mother-to-infant attachment in the literature, like proximity. Mother’s participation in specific NICU interventions were chosen to be measured based on their associations in the literature to maternal sensitivity and/or maternal distress, two factors influential in the development of mother-to-infant attachment. Descriptive data will also be collected in order to improve our knowledge of the distribution/prevalence of mother’s participation in NICU interventions and infant visitation. In this study, mothers of preterm infants will complete an online survey, the NICU & Attachment Survey, composed of three instruments. The Demographic Questionnaire will collect descriptive data, the NICU Interventions Questionnaire (NIQ) will assess participants’ participation in NICU interventions and infant visitation, and the Maternal Postnatal Attachment Scale (MPAS) will evaluate mother-to-infant attachment. Participants will be invited for participation through online forums related to parents, mothers, infants, prematurity, and NICUs. Findings from this research may result in more understanding and support for the attachment process in the NICU for preterm infants and mothers.

Study Purpose:

The attachment process between mothers and preterm infants on the NICU is not well understood. This study will examine the correlation between mother-to-infant attachment and two factors: amount of maternal infant visitation in the NICU and amount of maternal participation in six NICU interventions (kangaroo care, infant massage, infant-directed singing, NICU preparation, parent-to-parent support, and services from support persons on NICU staff). This study will also investigate the relationship between some demographic variables (age, education, and income) and the other factors examined in this study (mother-to-infant attachment, mother’s visitation of infant in the NICU, and mother’s participation in NICU interventions). Findings from this study may result in a better understanding of these relationships and provide focus for future research in this area of study.

Benefits of Research:

Those participating in this research may feel justified in knowing that this research aims to assist mothers and infants, similar to themselves and their infants, who had the unique experience of preterm birth requiring mother-infant separation for treatment in a NICU setting. Participants may feel comforted and warranted in knowing that their exploration of these topics may help researchers and mental health professionals better understand which NICU interventions are most strongly related to mother-to-infant attachment. The findings from this research study may result in a better understanding of the relationship between mother’s infant visitation in the NICU and participation in NCIU interventions and the mother-to-infant attachment that develops. The findings from this study may be used to educate professionals and parents about the importance of any of the practices found to relate to mother-to-infant attachment in the NICU for preterm infants.


Invitation to Participate:

NICU & Attachment Study for Mothers of Premature Infants

If you are the mother of a premature infant who was cared for in the NICU, I invite you to participate in my dissertation study exploring mothers’ activities in the NICU and the mother-infant attachment that develops.


Participation involves a 20 minute, anonymous, online survey for those meeting criterion.


Your exploration of these topics may help researchers and mental health professionals better understand which NICU interventions are most strongly related to mother-to-infant attachment and educate NICU professionals and parents about the importance of these practices.


Published in Industry News
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AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 


Read More: Defining Preterm birth


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New Release - Preemie Development

All in one easy to read eguide

‘The complete preemie guide to: ‘Preemie development’ is the must have guide to the NICU for new preemie parents.

With an easy-to-read layout this comprehensive guide is over 130 pages of important information about the NICU and your preemie.

Using Adobe’s .pdf format makes the guide usable across a wide range of platforms from ipad to PC, smartphone to macbook.

Packed with extra features like progress charts, NICU checklists and plenty of others. ‘The preemie guide’ is a must for any new parents.


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