March of Dimes services in the NICU
The NICU Family Support® program offers information and comfort to families during the NICU hospitalization of their newborn, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death. It also provides professional education for NICU staff; and promotes neonatal family centered care in NICUs. NICU Family Support is present in more than 120 hospitals across the country and touches more than 89,000 families each year.
NICU Family Support Print and Web Based Program, $5,000 investment per year
The Print and Web Based Program provides all families of NICU admissions with high quality, accurate, and up-to-date print materials in English and Spanish, and a unique webpage with access to information on procedures and conditions common in the NICU that can be accessed via any internet connection. Family members also can connect with other families who share the NICU experience by accessing shareyourstory.org. Through this program, NICU staff have access to online forums and webinars that allow partner hospitals in our network of NICU Family Support sites to exchange best practices and innovations.
NICU Family Support Hospital Managed Program, $15,000 investment per year
The Hospital Managed program includes all components of the Print and Web Based program, plus coordination of your Unit’s family-centered care activities through training, technical support, tools and materials customized to support your NICU’s staff in their role. Hospitals investing in this program receive an in-depth assessment of the state of family support in their NICUs, goal setting around their priorities for family support outcomes, and ongoing site management by national March of Dimes staff. The program includes innovative, family-centered seminars focused on topics created exclusively for NICU staff, led by expert March of Dimes trainers at your hospital.
The NICU Family Support program, NICU Family Support flyer (PDF, 95kb), NICU Family Support materials (PDF, 326kb)
Most common questions
How can my organization apply for local March of Dimes funding?
Contact your local March of Dimes chapter to ask for a Request for Proposal (RFP). In 2009, chapters awarded a total of $6 million in community grants to support projects that address local perinatal needs. Proposals or Letters of Intent are usually due to the chapter in the late summer.
What March of Dimes events are happening near me?
The March of Dimes has been conducting special events for more than 60 years. These activities - formal balls, signature chef auctions and dinners, motorcycle rides, golf tournaments and March for Babies - help the March of Dimes fund cutting-edge research and innovative programs to save babies. In 2007, more than $145 million was raised through hundreds of events held in communities across the country. With a wide variety to choose from, there is something for everyone! Contact your local chapter for a March of Dimes Special Event near you!
What programs does my local March of Dimes fund?
March of Dimes chapters support local projects aimed at helping women have healthier pregnancies. Funding from community grants enhances the availability and quality of health care and prevention services for women and their babies. For a list of specific programs funded in your state, please contact
your local March of Dimes chapter.
Baby and Me: Tobacco Free
"Baby & Me: Tobacco Free" is an incentive-based program utilizing the 5'As counseling approach to assist pregnant women in quitting smoking and to help them stay tobacco-free after the birth of their baby. The population served was economically disadvantaged smoking women receiving prenatal and postpartum services through Douglas County Public Health Programs (Prenatal Clinic Care, Family Planning, Maternity Case Management, Babies First, Healthy Start, WIC).
This program involved:
- Conducting 5'As cessation counseling training for participating public health program staff and local health care providers.
- Enrolling and collecting baseline data on participants.
- Providing four or more prenatal cessation counseling sessions for each participant. Participants who test smoke-free at each session receive a $10 gift certificate and are entered into a drawing for a Baby Me gift basket.
- Using carbon monoxide (CO) testing to determine smoke free status during pregnancy and after delivery.
- Conducting monthly visits with participants for 6 months following delivery to monitor smoking status, providing support and incentives. Participants who remain smoke-free after the birth of their babies receive a $20 diaper voucher each month for up to 6 months postpartum.
- Compiling class attendance records, number of vouchers issued/redeemed, quit status during pregnancy and at 3 and 6 months postpartum.
The results included:
- Nineteen professional staff were trained on the 5'As method.
- Fifty-three women received services.
- Seventy-nine percent were smoke-free during pregnancy.
- One-hundred percent of the women who delivered during the term of the project were smoke-free at the time of delivery.
- Fifty percent of the women who were smoke-free during pregnancy remained smoke free during the postpartum period.
- Upon request by program participants, carbon monoxide testing was also provided for husbands/partners of the pregnant women receiving services.
- Parents of pregnant teens agreed to quit smoking to support their daughters' quit attempt.
- Recruitment of participants was surprisingly difficult. To address this issue, a program flyer was developed and marketing was broadened. Enrollment increased as a result.
- Increased cost of tobacco products is an incentive to quitting. Having participants determine the amount of money they spend on tobacco products each month is a good exercise.
To address racial disparities in birth outcomes in New Jersey, the chapter funded the introduction of CenteringPregnancy (http://www.centeringhealthcare.org/) to local health care providers and as well as the establishment and on-going support of this model of group prenatal care at several local sites. The women who benefited from this program are pregnant African American women who get their prenatal care at Family Health Centers and clinics.
This program involved:
- Holding a showcase of program best practices which included CenteringPregnancy®.
- Establishing programs at Newark Community Health Center (NCHC), the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ and JFK Family Health Center.
The results included:
- One site reporting that only one of the 28 women completing the program had a preterm birth.
- Sixty-six percent of the participants liked receiving their prenatal care in the group.
- Eighty percent felt that they learned a lot about prenatal care in the group.
- Eighty percent enjoyed being with other women in the group care.
- Sixty-six percent felt well prepared for labor and delivery.
- Eighty-seven percent felt prepared for caring for a new baby.
- NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, after co-chairing the Social Equity in Birth Outcomes Initiative with the March of Dimes, decided to reprioritize its maternal child health grants to require evidence based programs that reduced racial disparities in birth outcomes.
- NCHC applied to the state for a Department of Health grant to improve access to prenatal care. NCHC received $300,000 grant to provide prenatal care at two prenatal clinics in the city of Newark that are at the sites of newly closed hospitals. Centering will be implemented at both sites.
- The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s OB/GYN clinic will provide access to CenteringPregnancy® for over 2,000 pregnant women at five clinics in Essex County. Essex County has the highest preterm birth rate (14.8 percent) in the state.
Mission: Healthy Baby
Pregnancy has its ups and downs for every woman. But high levels of stress can be a very real problem for moms-to-be who serve in the military or have a partner who does. Stress is associated with many health complications and may lead to premature birth or low birthweight in full-term babies. Mission: Healthy Baby® can help.
Mission: Healthy Baby, a partnership of the March of Dimes and the VFW, offers military families information and education on topics ranging from relieving stress to learning how to stay healthy during pregnancy to understanding the costs involved with having a new baby.
The program also treats military moms to the baby shower they might not otherwise have, offers dads ways to get involved and provides comfort to families with a baby in newborn intensive care. These services help make pregnancy and the birth of a new baby a positive and joyful experience for our military families.
The Coming of the Blessing
A March of Dimes initiative called The Coming of the Blessing is addressing high rates of infant death and premature birth among American Indian and Alaska Native babies. The initiative was created by the March of Dimes American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Women’s Committee. This group of women, representing 10 different tribes, developed health education resources that embrace the cultural and spiritual beliefs related to pregnancy and childbirth shared by many Native people. By emphasizing the strong family and community bonds; the deep and profound respect for nature, life, ancestors, women and children; we can help babies have a fighting chance.
Women from more than 30 tribes, Nations and pueblos have benefited from The Coming of the Blessing. According to a survey of women who participated, 90 percent changed a behavior to be healthier during pregnancy. Mothers made specific changes related to nutrition, stress reduction and the decision to breast feed. Although American Indian and Alaska Native mothers have the highest rate of inadequate prenatal care (23.8 percent) of all racial/ethnic groups, 88 percent of the moms who received prenatal education through The Coming of the Blessing kept all of their prenatal appointments. The preterm birth rate among American Indians and Alaska Natives is more than 14 percent. For women participating in The Coming of the Blessing, the rate was reduced to 7 percent. As a result of these findings, the program is designated as a “promising practice” by Indian Health Service.