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March of Dimes NICU Family Support(R) Programs Give Wisconsin Families Comfort and Information during a Crisis

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nowhere are the consequences of premature birth more evident than in hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICU) across Wisconsin. In the next week, 151 babies will be born too soon in Wisconsin. Their frightened, overwhelmed families will stand by and watch their babies be admitted into a NICU. Having a baby hospitalized in a NICU can be one of the most frightening and overwhelming experiences a parent faces.

To help families cope with the stress of this unexpected experience, the March of Dimes created NICU Family Support(R), a program that provides information and comfort to families of premature babies and other critically ill newborns cared for in NICUs. Through the program, families can work with a NICU Family Support Specialist, receive informational materials, and participate in Parent Education Hours, NICU Family Photo Shoots, Bedside Reading Libraries and Family Scrap-booking Nights and activities for siblings.

"Through NICU Family Support, we hope to make the journey through newborn intensive care smoother and less traumatic for families," said Dr. Sajani Tipnis, Chair of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign in the Wisconsin chapter.

The Hanni Family, of Horicon, WI, experienced the NICU Family Support program while their twin baby boy and girl were in the NICU for 9 of weeks. "The information and support we received through NICU Family Support helped us get through the emotional rollercoaster of having our baby in a NICU."

The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program is currently being implemented in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. By the end of 2007, there will be a NICU Family Support Program in every state reaching over 35,000 families annually. Wisconsin residents can help fund the NICU Family Support programs in Wisconsin by visiting

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at

SOURCE March of Dimes
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