HOUSTON (December 07, 2015)

Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show preterm birth affects about 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States. Preterm birth is the birth of an infant before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Recently, staff from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital dressed in purple to recognize World Prematurity Day as part of Prematurity Awareness Month. The intent is to raise awareness about the need to prevent preterm birth and the work being done to give more babies a healthier start in life.

“In addition to being staffed with a neonatologist and neonatal nurse practitioner 24/7, we offer a full array of support to extremely premature babies and their families,” says Dr. Edgar Romero, neonatologist and medical director of the NICU at Memorial Hermann Southwest. “We have dedicated respiratory therapists, social workers, developmental specialists, educators and many other support staff including dietitians. We offer everything a baby and their family needs to get their life off to a great start.”

The 40-bed NICU at Memorial Hermann Southwest is a Level III NICU. A Level III NICU is capable of caring for the smallest and sickest of newborn babies including performing pediatric surgeries if necessary.

“We can see babies with extreme prematurity as early as 23 weeks gestation with extremely low birth weight, slightly over a pound in some cases,” says Dr. Romero.

For those needing an even higher level of care, patients may be transferred to the Level IV NICU at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

If you need a referral to a pediatrician or want to learn more about the high level of services available at Memorial Hermann Southwest, call 713-222-CARE.