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
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
Sunday, 29 January 2012 15:58

Steroids Help Micro Preemies

A recent study has found that treating women at risk of preterm birth as early as 22 to 23 weeks gestation improved the survival of extremely preterm infants. Babies born this early are colloquially called micro preemies. Due to extreme prematurity, micro preemies have a reduced chance of survival and are at increased risk for a number of health complications, such as respiratory distress syndrome, patent ductus artiosus, retinopathy of prematurity, necrotizing enterocolitis, and intraventricular hemorrhage.

Women who are at risk of preterm delivery are treated with antenatal corticosteroids (steroids for short) to help the infant’s immature lungs develop. Various studies have provided evidence for the effectiveness of steroids for decreasing mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. Typically, women at high risk of preterm birth between 24 to 34 weeks gestation are treated with steroids, however the use of steroids in women between 22 to 26 weeks gestation has been low and there is wide international and regional variation in their use. A research team in Japan sough to evaluate the effectiveness of antenatal corticosteroids to improve neonatal outcomes for infants born at less than 24 weeks of gestation. This was an important study as steroid use at this early stage may have large ramifications for survival and morbidity in the most vulnerable and tiniest of preterm babies.

The study involved the analysis of 11,607 infants born at 22 to 33 weeks gestation between 2003 and 2007. They evaluated the gestational age effects of treating women threatened with preterm birth with steroids on several factors related to neonatal morbidity and mortality. The most important finding of this study was that treatment with antenatal corticosteroids improved the survival of extremely preterm infants, including the tiniest micro preemies; babies born 22 to 23 weeks gestation.

Other results from the study demonstrated that steroid treatment was effective in decreasing respiratory distress syndrome, brain injury (intraventricular hemorrhage), surfactant use, and duration of oxygen use in preterm infants born between 24 and 29 weeks of gestation but not for the smaller micro preemies.

Published in Industry News
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 20:15

Preemies and Attention

Preemiehelp is pleased to announce that Michelle Wilson-Ching Ph.D is the latest contributor to our website. Dr Wilson-Ching is an expert in attention difficulties experienced by preterm children. She completed her dissertation in 2010 and now works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Australia's Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Michelle was a researcher in a large regional cohort study based in Victoria, Australia called the Victorian Infant Collborative Study or VICS for short. The aim of VICS is to establish the extent of long-term health problems that occur in the tiniest (those of birthweight less than 1000 g) and most premature (those born less than 28 weeks of gestation) preterm survivors born in Victoria.

 

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 17:42

Preemie Parents and Pain

Educating preemie parents on recognizing and responding to pain in their baby has been shown to lift the confidence of parents once they leave the hospital or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU for short). A new study in the UK conducted a research project involving 169 parents of preeemies. Half of these preemie parents received a booklet and 2 training sessions with a nurse on how to care for their preemie's pain, while the other parents received a general parenting booklet without specific training. The information provided to preemie parents included training on how babies process pain and techniques for comforting babies during painful procedures. Typically preemie parents receive very little formal training on pain management so this study may help change practices in the NICU.

 

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, 07 October 2011 11:02

New Article: ROP surgery

Preemie Help have just released a new article called, Retinopathy of Prematurity; Surgeries and Procedures. It provides some basic information about the surgeries and procedures used to treat preterm infants with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This is an important topic as the smallest and sickiest preterm infants are at the greatest risk for ROP, understanding a little about what's involved can help with feelings of being overwhelmed and confused.

There a several studies being undertaken at the moment to try and improve outcomes following ROP and ways to prevent it in the first instance. Preemie Help will keep up-to-date with this information and post any new findings.

Retinopathy of Prematurity; Surgeries and Procedures can be found under the section "About Preemies" > "In the Hospital" > under the heading "Preemie Surgeries and Procedures."

Published in Industry News
Monday, 31 December 2012 13:02

Persistent Language Problems

Babies born premature have poorer language abilities when compared to their peers at seven years of age, a Murdoch Childrens Research Institute study has found.

Researchers investigated language abilities in 198 children born very preterm (less than 32 weeks) and very low birth weight (less than 1500 grams) at seven years of age and compared their performance with 70 children who were born at term. Researchers also looked for white matter abnormalities as they hypothesised those children born preterm would demonstrate impaired language function because of the presence of diffuse white matter abnormalities.

The study, which is published in Journal of Pediatrics, found the group of children born very premature performed significantly worse than the children born at term on all language areas assessed including spoken word awareness, semantics, grammar, discourse and pragmatics.

The study showed that white matter abnormality occurring during the neonatal period was a key predictive factor for four out of five language areas seven years later. White matter abnormalities were associated with performance in phonological awareness, semantics, grammar, and discourse.

However, the results indicated that other factors associated with prematurity are also likely to influence language ability. Researchers said it's possible that environmental factors provide additional influence on language abilities; however, say further research is needed to understand the most significant determinants of cognitive skills.

Lead researcher, A/Professor Peter Anderson said the study highlights that families should closely monitor their child's language development.

The study, which is published in Journal of Pediatrics, found the group of children born very premature performed significantly worse than the children born at term on all language areas assessed including spoken word awareness, semantics, grammar, discourse and pragmatics.

"Language development is a clinically important area of development concern in these children. Paying close attention to a premature babies' language development is essential for parents so that discrepancies from normal development can be discovered and addressed during early childhood."

Researchers from the Institute are now developing a new preventive intervention for premature babies, which they hope will enhance language development, along with other functional outcomes.

Published in Industry News
Friday, 11 February 2011 12:28

Preemie dances hip hop

In China, parents of a very small preemie sent their son to dance lessons after doctors suggested he move his limbs to music to help build up his weak muscles.  They didn't anticipate how much he'd love it, or how good he would be!

 

This little preemie is now world famous for imitating Michael Jackson's moves, he's appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and performed at the World Expo in Shanghai, May 2010.

His name is Wang Yiming but is more popularly know as Xiao Bao, which means "little treasure".

 

Watch preemie Xiao Bao show off his hip hop dance moves below

Published in Fun clips for preemies
Sunday, 05 February 2012 14:45

NICU Dr, Successful Communicators?

A group of researchers based in Canada sought to find out if the information content, process, and social interaction of the antenatal consultation satisfies the informational needs of women admitted to hospital in preterm and threatened preterm labor. Many hospitals have recently moved toward the family/patient centered care, which includes providing as much information to the patient/family as possible so that they might be more involved in decision-making. One of the major hurdles to this process is when patients are suffering high degrees of anxiety as it negatively affects their perception of the successfulness of communication between physician and patient. Since, preterm labor or threatened preterm labor is stressful for patients it is important to ascertain whether current communication strategies are successful when interacting with these patients.

The typical process – obstetricians request an antenatal consultation for patients admitted in preterm or threatened preterm labor. Consultation is usually provided by the attending neonatologist or could also be neonatal fellow, neonatal nurse practitioner, or paediatrician; the mother is visited by the attending neonatologist for follow-up.

Women included in this study were those with preterm or threatened preterm labor of between 25 and 32 weeks’ gestation. Participants completed a antenatal consultation questionnaire (ACQ); it included 30 questions about the content (type and amount of information given), process (how information was given) and social interaction of physicians. They also wanted to know whether the consultation process was helpful in relieving some of their worry and anxiety.

Results from the study found that study, respondents almost always recalled receiving information on the topics of survival, most likely regarding medical problems and treatments that the baby might need. Mothers reported that information on risk of disability was provided less consistently. Participants who recalled receiving information about disability were also less satisfied with the amount of information provided on this topic compared with other topics. Only 12% of participants disagreed that the consultation helped relieve their worry, suggesting that receiving information may contribute to increasing knowledge and understanding of the condition and risks, but it may also increase anxiety in some people.

Other researchers have suggested that patients want information, even in situations of uncertainty, like preterm labor, and that they feel more satisfied with the consultation if doctors share information about uncertainty. It is important for neonatologists to have frank and open discussions about uncertainty in prognosis, including the risk of disability.

Study conclusion –the mothers who responded to the antenatal consultation questionnaire were generally satisfied with the information provided during the antenatal consultation but remained highly anxious.

Published in Industry News
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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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