Posts Tagged ‘surgery’

What if my baby needs surgery?

Friday, November 11th, 2016

mom-and-preemieThe idea of surgery is scary for anyone. But learning your premature baby needs to have surgery can be terrifying. Learning what you can expect may make things a little easier. The following information is adapted from Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies.

Ask a lot of questions

  • Talk to your baby’s neonatologist, the surgeon who will be operating, the anesthesiologist, and any other specialists who may be involved in your baby’s care.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask ANY questions that you have. It may be helpful to write them down as you think of them so that you don’t forget to ask when you see your baby’s doctors.  You may meet with someone unexpectedly and you will not want to miss the opportunity to get answers to your questions. Perhaps keep a notebook or pad in your handbag so you can jot down your thoughts as they cross your mind.
  • Also, take advantage of talking to the NICU nurses. They have cared for many preemies and understand your fears and concerns and can give you an idea of what is going to happen.


  • Most premature babies are put under general anesthesia for surgery. This means that your baby will not be able to move during the surgery. She will not feel any pain or have any memory of the procedure.
  • If general anesthesia is used, your baby will not be able to breathe on her own and will need to be on a ventilator.
  • The surgical team will be monitoring your baby to make sure she is as comfortable as possible. During the surgery, your baby will be kept warm. The room temperature will be raised and she will be covered as much as possible. IV fluids may be warmed as well.


  • Preemies need very special care after surgery. Immediately after surgery, your baby will remain in a recovery area while the anesthesia wears off.
  • The surgical team will then accompany your baby back to the NICU and update the neonatologists and bedside nurses.
  • It will take some time for the anesthesia to leave your baby’s body. This means she may be on a ventilator to help her breathe. If your baby didn’t have a breathing problem before surgery, she may be removed from the ventilator within hours or up to a few days after surgery. Babies who did have breathing problems will most likely need to be on a ventilator for a longer period of time.
  • Pain can delay healing and recovery, so your baby’s NICU team will be watching carefully for any signs that she is uncomfortable. The medication your baby receives to manage pain depends on a number of factors. Make sure you ask the doctors and nurses if you have concerns.

Asking questions and understanding what to expect before, during, and after your baby’s surgery, can help you feel more confident and better prepared for the procedure. You may also find it helpful to talk to other parents who have been through a similar experience with their preemie. Share Your Story, our online community, will allow you to connect with other moms and dads who can offer advice and support.

And, of course, we are here to answer any questions you may have. Send them to





If your preemie needs surgery

Friday, January 14th, 2011

As if parents of a premature baby don’t have enough to worry about, sometimes their baby needs surgery. Some babies require surgery to repair a heart defect, or NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis – a serious problem with the intestines) or other bowel condition. Some require the surgical insertion of a central venous line to receive special nutrition or antibiotics. Others may need a shunt placed to drain excess fluid from the brain, or hernia repair, or surgery to prevent reflux…

Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies can be a valuable tool for parents. When discussing possible surgery for a baby, the authors offer four important points for parents to consider:

1 – Do you know why your baby needs surgery, what the benefits and risks of the procedure are, how urgent it is, and what’s involved in her recovery? In other words, do you know enough to give “informed” consent for the operation?

2 – Do most doctors agree on the best treatment for your baby? If there are alternatives to surgery, do you know their risks and benefits, and what would happen to your baby if surgery weren’t done?

3 – Were you and your partner given enough time to reflect, have family discussions, and reach a considered decision about your baby’s surgery? Are your values and feelings being taken into consideration by your baby’s doctors? Has the medical staff been supportive?

4 – Do the doctors and nurses know how to reach you shortly before, during and after the surgery?

The main focus here is to gather as much information as you can.  Write down your questions whenever they pop up so you won’t forget any of them, and then review them with your baby’s doctors. There is no such thing as a stupid question, so never be shy about asking a question or speaking up if you don’t understand. This is true at any time, while in the hospital and throughout your child’s life.  Communicate – information will help you make the best decisions.

Pregnancy and weight-loss surgery: New research

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Obese women who have weight-loss surgery are more likely to have healthy pregnancies than obese women who don’t have the surgery, according to a new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Weight-loss surgery is increasing in the United States, but we are still learning about its risks and benefits.

Important: This new study focused on obese women, not overweight women. What’s the difference?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number that can tell you whether you are underweight, at a normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI is based on height and weight.

Here’s an example: A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs 203 pounds or more is obese. A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs between 169 and 202 pounds is overweight.

This new study reminds us that mom’s weight matters during pregnancy. The closer you are to a healthy weight, the more likely you are to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Weight-loss surgery isn’t for everyone, but a healthy weight is.

For more information, read the March of Dimes articles Weight Gain During Pregnancy, Pregnancy and the Overweight Woman and Pregnancy After Weight-Loss Surgery.

Or take a look at our new video on healthy eating during pregnancy. Get to know Olga, and tell us what you think.