November is Prematurity Awareness Month. More than 380,000 babies – or 1 in 10 babies - are born prematurely each year according to the March of Dimes. In the past year, the neonatal intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital admitted more than 1,400 babies from 35 counties across the state of Michigan. Dr. Ed Beaumont, medical director for the NICU, talked to us about Prematurity Awareness Month and what the NICU does for its littlest patients.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital NICU is the only Level-IV NICU in West Michigan with more than 100 beds. It's made up of a dedicated staff of 305 nurses, 18 nurse practitioners and 10 neonatologists. The small baby unit cares for babies born before 27 weeks gestation. Spectrum prides itself on long-lasting connections with families who have been impacted by the NICU.
Factors that increase risk of prematurity include lack of good health insurance, inadequate prenatal care along with poverty/rural locations. Along with this, mothers less than 17 or over 35, race with an increase in blacks, Native Americans, substance abuse and underlying medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and infections.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Neonatology/NICU
100 Michigan Street – Floor 3
Grand Rapids, MI 49503