NICU Redesigned with Families in Mind

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 4, 2016

As families step off the elevator and enter the newly redesigned Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), they walk through a welcoming open space with natural light and views of the outdoors.

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Creating a comforting and family-centered environment is important in a unit that cares for premature infants, says Dr. Terri Gorman, a neonatologist and Co-Medical Director of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, which cares for approximately 3,000 premature and sick infants and their families each year.

“Having a premature baby that needs special medical care can be stressful, and many of the parents who enter the NICU are first-time parents,” says Dr. Gorman, which is one of the reasons why the new facility offers a more open and welcoming environment for families and their babies.

After greeting a friendly unit coordinator at the front desk, families can walk from their baby’s room to the family lounge area or to the outdoor patio. With no restrictions on visitation, family members can also sleepover on the pull-out sofa in their infant’s room, and mothers can breastfeed in privacy and store milk in their room’s private refrigerator. Families can even attend daily rounds with the medical staff, if they want. Read More »

Food Choices during Pregnancy Matter

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 7, 2016

Food Choices during Pregnancy Matter

Dr. Sarbattama Sen, a BWH neonatologist, has found that pro-inflammatory diets during pregnancy are associated with lower-than-expected birthweight in certain groups.

Contributor: Sarbattama Sen, MD, is a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

The effects of a woman’s food choices during pregnancy and the impact on her health and the health of her baby are not well understood.

“We have known for some time that diet plays a key role in inflammation and that excessive inflammation is associated with negative health effects in adults. There have been few studies, however, investigating the role of inflammation in pregnancy, when both the health of the mother and the fetus are at stake,” said Dr. Sarbattama Sen, a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at BWH.

A recent study led by BWH researchers used the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) to score a woman’s diet during pregnancy and to measure the influence of her diet on both inflammation during pregnancy and on maternal and infant outcomes before and after childbirth. The DII assigned an inflammatory score to food components. Previous studies in non-pregnant adults have found that some food components, such as caffeine and trans, saturated, and monounsaturated fats, have a pro-inflammatory effect, while others, such as vitamin A, beta carotene, fiber and magnesium, have an anti-inflammatory effect.

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