Supporting Future Parents During Hospitalization for High-Risk Pregnancy
In an effort to have an impact on premature birth, the March of Dimes has established the Antepartum Family Support Program in partnership with Memorial Hermann, The Women’s Hospital of Texas and St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital. This program is made available to provide socialization and education about premature birth and relief from the boredom and stress of inpatient bed rest. Trained volunteers visit women hospitalized on the Antepartum Units of participating hospitals to provide support and information.
Participants receive free educational materials including a copy of the book The Essential Guide to Caring for Your Preemie and March of Dimes brochure Signs of Preterm Labor. They receive gifts such as a welcome gift bag with toiletry and personal care items, crossword puzzles, craft activities, magazines and more.
Beyond the activities and volunteer visits, several of the participating hospitals have developed group support activities where the women can connect with one another to provide support and stress relief. Special activities and celebrations are hosted to make holidays and special occasions more comfortable during this challenging time.This program is currently located at five Houston Area hospitals:
- Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
- The Woman’s Hospital of Texas
- Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital
- Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital
- St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital
To date, more than 750 antepartum patients have participated in the program. Feedback from participants is excellent, reporting that they gained social support from the volunteer visits and learned important information from the educational materials provided. Antepartum patients report that the program has improved the quality of their time on bedrest by helping them build a support network with other antepartum patients and providing diversion activities.