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Professor Caroline Hartley, Principal Investigator, and Dr Marianne van der Vaart, Postdoctoral Researcher, in the Paediatric Neuroimaging Group at the Department of Paediatrics, have today launched a series of animations aimed at improving parental understanding of brain development in premature infants, and the effect it has on breathing and apnoeas (the cessation of breathing).

Illustration of a human brain

The series, called My Baby’s Brain, has been developed to support parents of premature babies, enabling them to understand why premature babies have apnoeas, the treatment they receive, and the equipment that is used. My Baby’s Brain is a free, online resource that was created in collaboration with parents of premature babies alongside SSNAP (Supporting sick newborn and their parents), a charity based in the Newborn Care Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Lauren Young, mother to Georgie, (age 7 and born at 40 weeks) and to Rosie (age 3 and born at 24 weeks), and also part of the Family Care Team at SSNAP, was part of the parent group that led to the creation of the series. She had a “traumatic, exhausting and long hospital stay of nearly 6 months” following the birth of her youngest daughter, and proactively wanted to help neonatal research and development. She said: “In my role with the Family Care Team for SSNAP I see so many parents trying to navigate all the information they receive from the medical teams. I feel strongly that anything helping parents to process the information, feel more comfortable with their surroundings and the care that their child is receiving, can go a really long way to helping them on the journey.”

“These animations will be so helpful to parents and families with premature babies. They will help them to understand the reasons their baby is needing the care they receive and give a very clear picture of equipment used, as well as a soft introduction to language and terminology they may hear along their journey. My Baby’s Brain will help parents feel more in touch with their babies’ care and help them to build confidence in the neonatal setting.”

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website