Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute 

Neonatal Follow-up Program

Families depend on us not just through pregnancy and birth but into early childhood. Our Neonatal Follow-up Program supports families and tracks cognitive and physical development through age 5.

Our NICHES cohorts refer to groups of mothers and babies with specific health issues. The institute is dedicating teams of specialists with expertise to each group. The groups, called cohorts, will unite the clinical, educational and research efforts on these specific issues to continually elevate the care and maximize outcomes. We provide follow-up care specialized for each health issue:

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

The national opioid epidemic is prevalent in Florida where 4,215 babies were born in 2016 with exposure in the womb to addictive drugs or medicine, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Thanks to generous philanthropy, our team is improving care and reducing length of stay in the hospital for NAS babies through research and care coordination. With our approach, these newborns now require less medication, are successfully withdrawing from their dependency and are eligible for breastmilk upon discharge. It is critical to monitor the long-term impact of this dependency—and we plan to do so through our neonatal follow-up clinics in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. Learn more about our NAS Program.

Intestinal Rehabilitation Therapy

The intestinal rehabilitation therapy team is providing comprehensive care to infants born with short bowel syndrome, severe gastrointestinal dysfunction and intestinal failures. A goal of the Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute is to better understand these conditions and develop the best treatments by studying the relationship among gut bacteria, the immune system and how intestinal rehabilitation can provide more positive outcomes.

Cardiac Disease

About 40,000 children are born each year in the United States with a congenital heart defect. Working closely with our Heart Institute team, we provide early detection, often times while the baby is in utero. Our approach to seamless care begins straightaway with fetal cardiac monitoring and prenatal collaboration. This allows our teams to anticipate any maternal or fetal care needs and prepare for a streamlined transition along the continuum of care.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Moms often share that their greatest worry is their baby will experience a lack of oxygen pre- and during birth. When this does happen, it can lead to something known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy—or oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. Sometimes lack of oxygen is not immediately detected upon birth. This is where our Institute for Brain Protection Sciences team partners with the Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute team through a dedicated psychologist who can determine the best treatment plan for any potential motor-, cognitive- or neurodevelopmental delays.

Extremely Low Birth Weight

Most often, extremely low birth weight babies are categorized as ”preemies.” Over the past 40 years, the neonatal team has treated thousands of premature babies and micro-preemies, those born under 2 pounds, 3 ounces, with successful outcomes. These babies haven’t had time to develop as fully as those born full term and are more likely to have developmental delays and other health issues. Our highly skilled multidisciplinary team–ranging from the neonatologist to the nutritionist–strives to develop better treatments for these tiniest patients so they have the best chances of leading a normal life.

Stress in Mothers

Our world is full of challenges, but for an expectant mother with a high-risk pregnancy, that stress is amplified further and negatively affects the developing baby. We intend to identify mothers affected by prenatal stress using validated tools. Our NICU-based psychologist offers strategies to cope with stress and works with mothers and families throughout pregnancy and beyond. To further our understanding, we are studying how maternal stress impacts a baby’s propensity for obesity in early childhood. This will help us apply prevention programs.