February 25, 2020
Virtual Online Support Helps NICU Families Navigate Challenges
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 1 Comments
Approximately 10% of newborns are born prior to 37 week and may require a stay in a neonatal intensive care nursery (NICU) or special care nursery. Even some term babies may spend time in the NICU after birth for a variety of reasons. Expected or unexpected, hours, days, weeks or even months, the families who are experiencing a separation from their just born baby cycle through a variety of emotions, each with their own challenges.
Leaving the hospital without one’s baby, who is still being hospitalized after the birth, is to put it simply – very difficult. Postpartum Support International (PSI) recognizes that parents whose baby (or babies) are spending time in the NICU are at higher risk for developing mental health issues like postpartum depression and/or anxiety due to the uniquely stressful experience of the NICU. Having a baby in this situation can be very isolating. PSI now has an online virtual support group just for families in this situation. Families can join from their smartphones, laptops or tablets from anywhere and participate in a weekly chat with other families in the same situation. Each group is led by trained peer facilitators who are parents with a a NICU graduate. There is no cost to join and this program can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
As educators and perinatal professionals, we are in a unique position to share this resource with all the families we meet, just in case they find themselves in this situation and to reach out with this information again when we are made aware of a baby in the NICU. Hospital systems may have social workers and support systems in place at their facilities, but families will very much appreciate the ability to access this PSI virtual NICU support from anywhere.
In order to join, parents should go to the Postpartum Support International Support Group Central website, create an account and select "NICU Parents" to register. The meetings are held on Thursdays, at
What other resources do you like to share with families whose baby is in the NICU after birth? Please share with readers in the comments below.
TagsChildbirth education NICU Newborns Postpartum Support International Sharon Muza