The hospital-based NICU Family Support® program provides information and comfort to families during the NICU hospitalization of their newborn, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death; contributes to NICU staff professional development; and promotes the philosophy of family-centered care in NICUs. NICU Family Support is present in more than 100 hospitals offering services to more than 75,000 families each year.
NICU Family Support Level I Program
The Level I Program provides NICU families and staff with supportive print materials in English and Spanish from the March of Dimes that they can take home, and a unique webpage with access to information on procedures and conditions common in the NICU on both the March of Dimes and the hospital’s websites. Parents and family members also can connect with other families who share the NICU experience by accessing shareyourstory.org. 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 Level II Program
The Level II Program provides training, technical support, tools and materials to your NICU staff to assist them in supporting families. The Program includes everything in Level I as well as other added benefits. Hospitals will receive an in-depth assessment of the state of family support in their NICUs with recommendations for change and ongoing site management by national March of Dimes staff. Also offered are innovative, family-centered seminars focused on parent-staff communication, caring for families in crisis, and caregiver fatigue for NICU staff, led by expert March of Dimes trainers.
What our network members are saying
“The March of Dimes has set the standard for NICU family support across the nation. The program has been a model for the hospital-wide family support program, and I am proud that our site has been a model for others around the country as well.”
- Dr. Billie Short, Chief, Division of Neonatology Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
“This program has enabled us to connect parents of NICU graduates to parents with babies in the NICU through walks, meals and conversations. We’ve created a Family-Staff Advisory Council to bring family feedback into our planning and decisions. We are connecting parents with counselors to treat depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
- Dr. John Evered, NICU Medical Director, Saint Charles Medical Center, Bend, Ore.
See also: The NICU Family Support program, NICU Family Support flyer (PDF, 95kb), NICU Family Support materials (PDF, 326kb)
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!
"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:
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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:
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Comenzando bien® is a prenatal curriculum designed for pregnant women to learn about having a healthy pregnancy in a supportive group setting. It also provides culturally relevant social support/prenatal education for pregnant Hispanic women and demonstrates improved birth outcomes/behavior change. The curriculum is available in both English and Spanish.
This program involves:
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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.
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.