babies

Rhode Island Department of Health

Nurses and social workers will visit more homes across Rhode Island thanks to a two-year, $10 million dollar federal grant aimed at helping pregnant women and young children. The program could soon be serving more than a thousand Rhode Island families.

Congress established this home visiting program a few years ago to help families reduce the risks of pre-term births, low birth weights, and infant mortality. This round of funding marks a big expansion of the program in Rhode Island, said State Health Department Director Doctor Michael Fine.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new study from Women and Infants Hospital researchers finds that newborn intensive care patients fare better in single family rooms than in the traditional open wards found in most NICUs. The hospital opened its new NICU five years ago. Now researchers believe they can answer why it’s better for babies.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More Rhode Island babies are being born dependent on the opioid drugs their pregnant mothers were taking. Their condition, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, sometimes requires hospital stays and powerful medications. In the second of our two-part series, the story of a newborn going through withdrawal and a young mother trying to make a new life for him in recovery. (You can listen to part one of our series here.)

Visiting baby Jonathan
“Where’s everybody headed?”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More Rhode Island babies are being born dependent on the opioid drugs (including OxyContin and heroin) their pregnant mothers were taking. Many of these babies need hospital stays and powerful medication to help them through the painful withdrawal. Now, researchers at Women & Infants Hospital are trying to pin down what treatments work best, and what the long-term impacts are. Part one of our two-part series on newborns in withdrawal.

A rough entry into the world

(Sound: subtle whirring of the nursery)

The state’s health department says the number of babies born in Rhode Island to mothers dependent on opiates has nearly doubled in the past few years.

In 2012, it was 90 babies, more than double the number in 2005. So far, in the first quarter of this year, it’s 26 newborns.

This is the first time health department researchers have compiled statistics on babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a collection of symptoms that afflict babies in withdrawal from the drugs they were exposed to in the womb. 

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