Many of us in family medicine practice full scope — including obstetrics. One of the most stressful situations for any obstetrics provider is when the delivered infant has to go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Our stress as providers pales to that of the families whose infant has been taken from the delivery suite or postpartum ward and placed in what at first appears to be an inhospitable place. To the uninitiated, the NICU is a blur of activity with incubators, ventilators, IVs, TPN, and an entire vocabulary that is challenging to many primary care providers let alone parents. I have met many parents over the years who are frequently confused, frightened and frustrated by their stay in the NICU. The NICU experience, if not handled well, can lead to disillusionment with the healthcare system and loss of valuable bonding time with their newborn baby.
Thankfully, the March of Dimes is trying to change this. For over 80 years, the March of Dimes has been working to prevent prematurity, decrease newborn diseases, and promote healthy mothers during the entire pregnancy experience. They recently released a new app called My NICU Baby specifically designed to help parents with the NICU experience. The app contains some unique resources — including educational videos covering topics from caring for the baby to caring for themselves, a detailed “NICU Textbook for Parents,” covering topics from feeding to development, trackers for feeding, pumping, weight, etc., and checklists and questionnaires for going home and postpartum follow-up care. Additionally, the app allows for photos, social media sharing, and connections to support groups including those at the hospital where the infant is admitted.
My NICU Baby presents an abundant amount of educational content for parents with an infant in the NICU, all in an easy-to-use app. The content does not contain references but comes from the March of Dimes. The app does link to many evidence-based resources from HealthyChildren.org, AHRQ and others.
What patients/providers would benefit from this App?
Any parent or family member, or friend of a parent, with an infant in the NICU. May also be useful for NICU nurses and neonatologists, pediatricians, family physicians or other providers who care for infants in the NICU.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
- Robust multimedia content for parents on the basics of an infant stay in the NICU
- Numerous high-quality educational videos, trackers, checklists and questionnaires
- Available for both iOS and Android
- Much of the detailed information and videos available via hyperlinks rather than natively in the app
- Lacks detail on some of the more common and invasive treatments — ventilator, TPN, etc.
- Some evidence of sponsorship in the app (i.e., “Pampers Diapers”)
A great app for families with an infant in the NICU. The app’s trackers (breast feeding, Kangaroo care), checklists, questionnaires, and helpful links will surely enable parents to make the most of a stressful situation while providing valuable education and orientation to the busy NICU environment.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Interface is adequate though not as advanced as some of the recently reviewed OB tracking apps (UW Baby), but makes up for it with excellent content and resources for parents.
- Multimedia Usage
The app contains high quality educational videos for parents and links to many reputable sources from Healthy Children.org, AHRQ, as well as the March of Dimes. Can use GPS to find support groups, share on social media, etc.
App is free
- Real World Applicability
My NICU Baby contains a wealth of information for any new parent with a NICU baby. The app comes from a reputable source. Although the app clearly has some evidence of sponsorship and many links rather than on-device information, the pluses far outweigh the negatives for this app and the potential help it can provide to families dealing with very stressful situations.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 8 running iOS 11.2.5
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad