Studies show 15 million babies are born early each year. While premature births can cause complications for the baby, it can also cause emotional stress for the parents.
Dr. William Binder, a neonatologist on the medical staff of Lee Health, says every year, countless families leave the hospital empty-handed after having a baby. “This is a traumatic experience and they can have symptoms of post-traumatic stress, like having persistent thoughts about the event.”
Premature deliveries can be traumatic for the baby and the parents. “We need to support that stress that the parents are going through psychologically and help calm them down so they can feel connected to their baby and feel safe and confident,” said Dr. Binder.
Their goal is to treat the baby as well as the parents, encouraging them to have skin to skin contact with the baby, change diapers, and feed the baby while still in the hospital. “It’s very important for bonding that the parent be doing care during this NICU time, otherwise the relationship between parent and baby can get distorted because they only see other people caring for their baby,” said Dr. Binder.
Experts also work closely with the family, teaching them how to care for a preterm baby. “It’s more challenging and it requires the specialized help of our nurses,” said Dr. Binder.
There are also support groups for parents of premature babies to help them connect with other families going through similar circumstances. “Ultimately, this whole NICU journey is life changing and we want it to be psychologically and spiritually a positive thing, rather than a traumatic event,” said Dr. Binder.
Taking care of the parents and the baby helps to ensure the family will be safe and comfortable when they finally go home together.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.