Developed in collaboration with more than 20 healthcare professionals and organizations, the guidelines address care from the in-hospital setting immediately after birth, through the transition to home, and beyond.
"Late preterm infants have been referred to as 'little imposters' because in most cases they look and seem normal, at least at first. We are continuing to find, however, that these babies have increased problems with breathing, feeding, temperature instability, and jaundice," said Dr. Raylene Phillips, Guidelines Steering Committee Chair and Neonatologist with Loma Linda University Children's Hospital.
More than 500,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States of which 75 percent are late preterm infants - those born between 34 and 36 6/7 weeks gestational age. Often disguised as a smaller version of a term infant, late preterm infants have higher rates of morbidity and mortality than full term babies, account for up to 20% of all NICU admissions, and are more likely to be re-hospitalized within the first 2 weeks of life. They also have higher costs across every medical category compared to full-term infants.
The National Perinatal Association set out to facilitate the creation of evidence-based multidisciplinary guidelines to help inform healthcare providers and parents about optimal care for these vulnerable babies. Including input from many disciplines, these guidelines provide a roadmap that offers guidance across the continuum of care including sections on: In-Hospital Assessment and Care, Transition to Outpatient Care, Short-Term Follow-Up Care and Long-Term Follow-Up Care.
"As a parent of a late preterm infant, I have a first-hand account of the issues and unknowns that parents face. The new NPA Guidelines will help pave the way for greater understanding of how parents can support their late preterm babies each step of the way," said Kelli Kelley parent of late preterm infant Lauren and Founder/Executive Director of Hand to Hold.
The guidelines are available free of charge and can be accessed at http://www.nationalperinatal.org/lptguidelines.php
About the National Perinatal Association
The National Perinatal Association is an organization of multidisciplinary experts and specialists that provides a single voice across the spectrum of perinatal care by facilitating information sharing, education, integrated policy positions and care guidelines to advance perinatal care.
Web Site: http://www.nationalperinatal.org
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