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5 NICU procedures to avoid if you have a preemie

Tanvier Peart is a happy wife, mom of two little boys, writer and creative director who loves working out...and a good cupcake. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, her family now calls the Oklahoma City area home, and embraces sweet tea in...

Premature infants subjected to alarming number of unnecessary NICU procedures

Having a baby in the NICU can be an extremely stressful situation for any parent to handle. The only thing you want to do is take your precious bundle of joy home! And now the American Academy of Pediatrics is highlighting a short list of medical procedures that might not be necessary for your child.

A national survey conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Perinatal Pediatrics Executive Committee challenged a select group of medical professionals to identify medical care procedures administered to both high- and low-risk newborns — procedures that may not be necessary. In case you're wondering, a newborn is considered to be high risk if there's a stronger chance of complications that stem from fetal development, problems during labor and delivery or with the mother while carrying her child.

More: Learn how to prevent and identify preterm labor

The goal of the study was to pinpoint treatments and tests that either demonstrated little to no result or that made poor use of medical staff and resources. While no one seems to deny situations where these procedures are needed, their effectiveness due to insufficient evidence does raise concern.

More: Preemies are 3 times more likely to develop psychiatric problems

Though the following list was never intended to stand in the place of a physician (you still need to speak to your doctor), it does serve as a resource parents can use to raise questions about the welfare of their child and the need for particular treatments — especially if they have a newborn in NICU.

In no particular order, here's a list of newborn tests and treatments the docs themselves say moms should be wary of:

  1. Habitual pneumograms (cardiorespiratory scans that record vital signs) to assess premature infants with apnea
  2. Excessive use of anti-reflux medications
  3. Regular MRIs and their equivalent
  4. Routine antibiotic treatment beyond 48 hours to infants with no proof of bacterial infection
  5. Daily chest radiographs without specification

More: Tips for parents of babies in the NICU

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