Texas Children's Hospital encourages expectant parents to create baby urgent medical plan (B.U.M.P.) during National Prematurity Awareness Month in November

HOUSTON - (Nov. 15, 2012) - During Prematurity Awareness Month in November, Texas Children's Hospital encourages expectant parents to prepare a baby urgent medical plan, or B.U.M.P., so that they can have peace of mind if unexpected complications arise.

According to the March of Dimes, one in eight U.S. babies is born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation. In Texas, 13.1 percent of babies are born prematurely, often requiring specialized care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Babies born too soon are at risk for a variety of complications, some of which can be life-threatening.

"Most pregnancies go smoothly, but even in the healthiest pregnancies, a preterm birth or unexpected complication is possible and preparing a plan ahead of time can help calm parents' worries," said Dr. Charleta Guillory, neonatologist at Texas Children's Hospital and chair of the March of Dimes Texas State Prematurity Campaign. "Being prepared means you can advocate for your baby if the unexpected happens and that your baby can be cared for in the NICU of your choice."

How to prepare your B.U.M.P.

  • Discuss neonatal intensive care with your doctor
  • Identify and research the highest-level NICUs in your area and familiarize yourself with the level of care and services offered
  • Write down or print out the address and key contact information for your preferred facility, plus any special notes discussed with your doctor and pack a copy in your hospital bag. Your B.U.M.P. is a natural and critical addition to a standard birth plan that will make it easier to know what to do if the unexpected happens
  • Advocate for your baby- you have the right to ask that your baby be transferred to the NICU of your choice
  • If complications are detected before the birth of your baby, talk to your physician about delivering at a high-risk center as studies show this increases the chances of a positive outcome for babies with complications

Preparing for the unexpected

"I was having an uneventful pregnancy, when suddenly, my water broke too early and I was rushed to the hospital where I learned that my placenta had ruptured and my son was born weighing just 3 pounds 1 ounce," said Kimberly Smith, mother of a NICU patient. "I was so grateful that Texas Children's Hospital has a Level IV NICU where my son had access to all of the specialty care he needed during the first month of his life and I know that having that level of care saved his life."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) designates NICUs from Level I to Level IV, which offers the highest level of care including access to neonatologists 24/7, the ability to provide surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions and maintains a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on-site. For more information on creating a B.U.M.P. plan or about levels of neonatal care, visit Texas Children's website.

Texas Children's Hospital operates the nation's largest NICU, offers Level IV care and treats more than 2,500 premature and critically-ill babies each year. The majority of babies treated in the NICU at Texas Children's Newborn Center and the hospital's new Pavilion for Women are born prematurely and about 10 percent of these babies are considered very low birth weight, weighing less than 3.3 lbs. at birth. For more information about Texas Children's Newborn Center, visit texaschildrens.org/nicu.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.