5 ways to prevent preterm birth

5 ways to prevent preterm birth

Written by Diana Frankenburger, the childbirth education coordinator for UK HealthCare.

Prematurity and its complications are the leading cause of death in children younger than 5 in the world today. Infants born before 37 weeks gestation have more complications than full-term babies, including problems with feeding and digestion, vision and hearing, and breathing.

Premature report card

Each November, the March of Dimes publishes a Premature Birth Report Card, which grades the U.S. and each state on prematurity rates for the previous year. The goal is to be at 8.1 percent, an objective set by the Healthy People 2020 initiative, a science-based, 10-year program to improve the health of all Americans.

This year, the U.S. has a rate of 9.6 percent, earning a C letter grade. Kentucky’s rate is 10.8 percent, which unfortunately gives our state a D.

Tips to prevent preterm birth

While some risks for premature birth cannot be avoided, there are things you can do to help prevent a preterm birth. Here are a few tips:

  1. Stop smoking, or cut down to less than a half-pack per day. Smoking contributes to preterm birth, and a baby who lives in a house with smokers is also 3.5 times more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome than a baby who doesn’t.
  2. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  3. Get prenatal care. Learn more about prenatal care at UK Women’s Health OB-GYN.
  4. Practice oral hygiene and see your dentist. Oral infections can lead to infections that can cause preterm labor.
  5. Practice stress reduction. Be aware of how you are handling stress and get sufficient exercise and rest to help get you ready for your new family member.

Delivering at full term will help your baby be healthier, stronger and avoid the complications that come with preterm birth.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about the UK Birthing Center, the leading facility in Central Kentucky specializing in high-risk pregnancies and deliveries.
  • The Birthing Center also offers a Childbirth Preparation Program, which will help prepare you for the changes that happen during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Find out more about our class offerings.
Mom Katie Schaftlein bonds with baby Sadie for the first time.

Quintuplets arrive at UK, granting mom a special birthday wish

The smallest of the quintuplets, Sadie, defied her size with her energy, churning her legs inside and out of the womb. Her sister Scarlett, on the other hand, established herself as the calm and docile member of the bunch. And family members have already pinned Lucas, the sole boy in the group, as the sweetheart perhaps a future golfer, his dad speculated.

“They have the same personalities as they did in my belly,” mom Katie Schaftlein said while getting situated for Kangaroo Care bonding with baby Sadie.

Surrounded by her 6-day-old babies in the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Katie Schaftlein beheld a lifelong dream fulfilled overnight. She always wanted five children, although her husband Lucas thought they might end up with three or four. The couple’s quintuplets arrived as on Katie’s 26th birthday. She delivered five early but healthy babies Sadie, Sofia, Scarlett, Savannah and Lucas at the UK HealthCare Birthing Center before the stroke of midnight on Friday, Nov. 11.

Preparing for quintuplets

The Lexington couple and UK graduates found out early in Katie’s pregnancy that five babies were on the way. They consulted with high-risk obstetrics specialists at UK HealthCare and neonatologists at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in preparation for delivery, with the goal of sustaining the pregnancy through 28-weeks gestation.

An interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and therapists from UK Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Kentucky Children’s Hospital coordinated a integrative care plan for the Schaflein quintuplets, whose expected early arrival would require specialty care in the region’s only Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Quintuplets are extremely rare, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting 47 national cases of quintuplets or higher order multiple births in 2014.

On a Friday morning in September, Lucas boarded a flight for a business trip to Japan. As soon as he landed on the other side of the world, he learned Katie, who was 22-weeks pregnant at the time, was admitted to the hospital while he was in flight. He booked a flight back to the U.S. as soon as possible, flying home a couple days later.

“I left her that day and kissed her goodbye, and three four hours later she was in the hospital,” Lucas said.

Five babies in four minutes

Katie remained in the hospital on bed rest for two months before delivering the babies at 29 weeks and five days gestation. Teams of nurses were assigned to each of the five babies upon arrival, and the medical teams made special accommodations to ensure three additional neonatologists were on-call at all times. Five NICU beds were reserved for the Schaftlein quintuplets.

Neonatologists met with the family during inpatient treatment to assess infant development and predict the status of each baby upon arrival. Katie’s ultrasound a day prior to delivery provided the comprehensive medical team with current information on the development status of each baby.

When Sadie’s water broke at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11, Dr. Wendy Hansen’s obstetrics team alerted KCH neonatologists to prepare to receive the babies and took Katie into surgery for an emergency caesarian section. The operation started at 11:30 p.m., but all the babies were delivered in time to share a birthday with their mother.

Hansen, who delivered five babies within four minutes, presented each baby to Lucas and Katie before sending the infants to the NICU for precautionary care and respiratory support. Hansen delivered the last baby at 11:56 p.m., a declaration that sent a cheer through the halls of the UK Birthing Center.

“We were worried because we didn’t want them to have two different birthdays,” Katie said. “Everyone cheered, and at that point I was like, ‘Okay, they are out.’”

It takes a team

Dr. Peter Giannone, the chief of the Department of Neonatology at KCH, credits the dedication of the Schaftlein family, as well as collaborative efforts and streamlined communication among obstetricians, nurses, neonatologists and therapists, for a positive outcome for the quintuplets.

The two departments recently formed the Obstetrics, Maternal-Fetal-Medicine, Neonatology, and Infant (OMNI) follow-up care service line, eliminating communication and collaboration barriers common in academic medical systems by coordinating cross-disciplinary efforts and uniting medical teams to enhance family-centered care.

“My biggest memory is the teamwork that everyone showed to pull this off so seamlessly,” Giannone said.

The Schaftlein quintuplets will remain in the hospital for several weeks before they are ready to go home. In the meantime, UK neonatologists will monitor the respiratory strength and development of the babies. Lucas and Katie Schaftlein, as well as family members in Louisville and Lexington, are visiting and bonding with the babies in the NICU.

The couple said they are grateful for the support, dedication and poise of members of their integrative medical team. Katie was put at ease by the calm demonstrated by Hansen as her water broke and delivery was imminent. Several nurses who assisted the family throughout Katie’s hospitalization were present at the delivery to “catch” (or retrieve) each baby to the NICU.

“It came full circle,” Katie said. “Everyone who helped in the beginning was there for the delivery.”


Next steps:

Media inquiries: Elizabeth Adams, University of Kentucky Public Relations and Marketing, elizabethadams@uky.edu

The Makenna Foundation is partnering with Barnes & Noble in Hamburg for a book fair and drive to benefit KCH's Child Life Program.

Book fair and drive to benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital

The Makenna Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps support Kentucky Children’s Hospital, is partnering with Barnes & Noble in Hamburg for a book fair and drive to benefit KCH’s Child Life Program.

The KCH Child Life Program is a service that provides patients and families with play opportunities. Through playing, KCH patients are given the opportunity to experience normal childhood growth and to reduce the stress of being in a hospital.

Some activities the Child Life Program offers are:

  • Individualized play in the child’s own room.
  • A large playroom with toys, games and more.
  • Encouraging reading.

The Child Life Program also includes a Multi-Media Room, complete with computers for patients to use.

The book fair will be held Nov. 26 at the Hamburg Barnes & Noble, with all proceeds going to the Makenna Foundation. Customers will have the option of donating 10 to 20 percent of their purchases.

And, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, you can also donate books you purchased at the Hamburg Barnes & Noble to KCH as part of the book drive.


Next steps:

Missy Scanlon and her family pose for a photograph.

Neonatal ICU receives generous donation, new name

When the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) moves into its revitalized space at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, it will have a new name to go with the upgraded space and services.

The gift of perserverance

The Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU, set to open in the spring of 2018, honors the $2 million legacy gift from KCH Development Council chair Missy Scanlon. The gift was endowed in memory of Missy’s late mother, Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor, whose determination and perseverance over life’s obstacles mirrored the devotion of the NICU medical staff.

“They serve the families, whether it’s a good outcome or not a good outcome,” Missy said of the NICU staff. “They see the tiniest of babies with these situations and they don’t give up, and that’s how my mom was. She was a good soul, and she tried her best. Whatever you have to do, whatever you have to make happen, you have to keep going until you get it done.”

Missy’s generous gift will equip the NICU staff with the resources and increased capacity they need to care for families as the only Level IV NICU for Central and Eastern Kentucky.

Renovations for patients and workers alike

The expansion includes spacious patient rooms and areas for family consultation and privacy. Designed with a theme representing Kentucky native wildlife and landscapes, these rooms will offer more convenience for long-term patient families through features such as sleeper sofas, wardrobes and kitchen areas. A simulation room for training exercises and “huddle” rooms for staff mentoring and team building are among other advancements.

“KCH is near and dear to my heart; it’s my happy place,” Missy said. “There are so many things that are happening there, and there are so many things that need to happen there.”

Missy’s legacy gift will help make the children’s hospital a happier place for the children and families who depend on it. If you’re interested in donating to KCH, visit www.givetokch.org.


Next steps:

12 tips for a fun, safe Halloween

12 tips for a fun, safe Halloween

Twice as many children are killed or injured while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. But Halloween doesn’t have to be the scariest night of the year for parents, kids or drivers.

Here are Safe Kids Fayette County’s top tips to help make this year’s Halloween fun and safe.

For parents and kids:

1. Emphasize safe pedestrian behaviors to kids before they go trick-or-treating.
2. Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
3. Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct  routes with the fewest street crossings.
4. Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up, and never dart out into the street or cross between parked  cars.
5. Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate your children’s costumes with reflective materials and, if possible, choose light colors that can be seen in the dark. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose nontoxic face paint, makeup and wigs instead.
6. Carry flashlights or glow sticks. These will help trick-or-treaters see and be seen by drivers.
7. While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy. Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.

Top tips for Halloween safety

For drivers:

8. Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
9. Be sure to turn your full headlights on between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., the most popular trick-or- treating hours.
10. Be especially alert and take extra time to look  for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
11. Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
12. Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.


Next steps:

On Nov. 5, video gamers of all levels and categories will unite to save the lives of children treated at KCH as part of the Extra Life Game Day fundraiser.

Support Kentucky Children’s Hospital on Extra Life Game Day

Local video gamers of all levels and categories — from consoles and mobile apps to PCs and tabletops — will unite on Nov. 5 to save and improve the lives of children treated at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Extra Life, a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals fundraising program, provides game lovers a fun way to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital, our local CMN Hospital.

Participants can sign up for the 24-hour gaming marathon and invite friends, family and fans to make a donation to Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The official Game Day is Nov. 5, but participants may complete their 24 hours of play whenever and however they like: all in one day or one hour a day for 24 days. Players may also participate solo or on teams.

Last year’s event raised $10,595 for the hospital and helped support sick and injured Kentucky kids and their families. Funds support patient services, music and art therapy, research, pediatric programs, and specialized equipment.

The virtual marathon is expected to involve 65,000 gamers fundraising for 170 CMN hospitals across North America. The 2015 event raised more than $1 million on Game Day, contributing to the year’s total of $8.3 million. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for member hospitals. The secure donations fund the selected hospital’s greatest needs, often including pediatric medical equipment, research, therapy programs and charitable care.

Interested participants can register at Extra-Life.org, select Kentucky Children’s Hospital as their preferred CMN Hospital, set a fundraising goal and collect donations throughout the year for patients in need.


Next steps:

  • Participating in Extra Life Game Day for Kentucky Children’s Hospital? Snap a photo and tag us on Twitter (@UK_HealthCare) or Facebook (@UKHealthCare).
  • Not into gaming but still want to support KCH? Visit www.givetokch.org.
Dr. Matthew Bush

Dr. Matthew Bush: Giving the gift of hearing, here and around the world

Making the RoundsDr. Matthew Bush, a clinician and researcher UK Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, sat down with us for the latest installment of Making the Rounds, a blog series where you’ll get to know more about our providers.

Dr. Bush sees patients of all ages who have hearing loss. He specializes in cochlear implants, small electronic devices that can help provide a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

Describe your ideal weekend

My ideal weekend would typically start by making pancakes for my five children, one of whom is a baby who doesn’t eat solid food yet. But her four brothers certainly eat for five and maybe even 10.

The weekends are all about family time. It’s about playing soccer and football in the backyard with the kids. It’s about reconnecting with them having been gone most of the week. We’re also usually active in our church on Sundays.

What’s do you enjoy most about being a dad?

The closeness of our relationship and the things that we can do together. Just seeing them becoming young adults and being able to mentor them, whether it’s playing basketball or soccer, or it’s working on Latin, or something like that.

They’re just really great kids.

What’s the last movie you saw?

Probably Fletch, the 1980s Chevy Chase movie. It’s my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it thousands of times.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m actively involved in humanitarian mission work. Twice a year I go to Nairobi, Kenya, for 10-14 days. I’m involved in teaching at the University of Nairobi in their ear, nose and throat surgery department and engaging in some research activities with them as well as caring for patients who otherwise don’t have access to specialty care.

It takes about three or four months to prepare for each trip, so it becomes a year-long hobby, even though it’s only two weeks at a time. I go on my own time and on my own dime, but it’s worth more to me than anything. It’s really an important part of my life.

What’s your favorite place to visit in Kenya?

One of my favorite places on the planet is a little town called Nanyuki, Kenya. And Nanyuki is right at the base of Mt. Kenya, which is Africa’s second-highest peak behind Kilimanjaro. It just is one of my happy places.


Next steps:

  • Bush supports the Songs for Sound concert event, which raises funds and awareness for UK Otolaryngology and the Lexington Hearing & Speech Center. This year’s event is Nov. 6. Visit the Songs for Sound website or call 917-796-1636 for tickets.
  • Learn more about cochlear implants, including who is a candidate for the device and how they’re different from hearing aids.
Songs for Sound Hear the Music

Songs for Sound event benefits UK Cochlear Implant Program

For the third year, the UK Cochlear Implant Program and the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center are partnering with Songs for Sound, a program dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who have profound hearing loss.

Songs for Sound will host its Hear the Music event in Lexington, bringing some of country music’s most elite songwriters to share their music and the stories behind the lyrics. All proceeds benefit the UK Cochlear Implant Program and the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center. This year’s event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Manchester Music Hall.

Dr. Matthew Bush

Dr. Matthew Bush

“Songs for Sound Hear the Music event is such an important event for our patients, the University of Kentucky and our region” said Dr. Matthew Bush, a clinician and researcher at UK Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and leader of the UK Cochlear Implant Program.

“It represents a collaborative effort among dedicated clinicians, amazing patients and the generous Songs for Sound team. Our cochlear implant program has grown progressively over the past 20 years and this event will enable us to expand our research and extent our reach to provide the absolute best hearing healthcare for patient throughout Kentucky and beyond. This will be a fantastic event that will highlight top country artists and patients who, in spite of their hearing loss, have regained the ability to hear the music.”

Songs for Sound was founded by Jamie and Kevin Vernon of Nashville, parents of Lexi, who at 1 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. The Vernons learned that Lexi was eligible for a cochlear implant  a small electronic device implanted just behind the ear  which brought sound into their daughter’s life and allowed her to blossom into an active, speaking and hearing child.

Songs for Sound travels across the country hosting Hear the Music events with the help of friends from Nashville’s music industry, in an effort to raise awareness of profound hearing loss. The organization provides free hearing screenings and access to needed resources, such as the resources found at UK, the primary cochlear implant center of Central and Eastern Kentucky since 1989.


Next steps:

  • Interested in attending this year’s Songs for Sound event? Sponsorship tickets for the event start at $30 per ticket or $50 for two. General admission tickets can be purchased for $10. To purchase tickets, visit Songs for Sound online or call 917-796-1636.
  • Learn more about cochlear implants, including who is a candidate for the device and how they’re different from hearing aids.
Flu season in Kentucky

Flu season in Kentucky has started. Here’s what you need to know.

Several cases of influenza have already been confirmed across the Commonwealth, marking the early arrival of flu season in Kentucky.

Here’s what you need to know about the flu this year.

Vaccines are necessary every year

Getting a flu shot every year is the single most effective way to prevent the flu. It’s safe and recommended for anyone 6 months or older.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, which is why it’s important to get a shot at the start of every flu season. This year’s vaccine is updated to better protect against the flu viruses experts expect to circulate this season.

FluMist is no longer an option

Studies showed the nasal spray flu vaccine, or FluMist, was not effective in protecting against the flu last year, and it is no longer being produced. Although FluMist was often the preferred choice for children or those averse to needles, all individuals who can receive a flu shot should do so.

Help protect those around you

Receiving a flu vaccination helps keep those around you protected, too. If you live or care for infants too young to receive a vaccination, getting a flu shot will help protect them from the virus.

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated, and be conscious of those in your life who are more susceptible to the virus. They include people older than 65, those with chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes, and pregnant women.


Next steps:

  • Shots are available from primary care doctors and many pharmacies. Check out the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder to find a flu vaccine clinic near you.
  • Members of the UK community can get a flu shot as part of University Health Service’s Big Flu Madness. See the student and campus employee flu shot schedule here and the UK HealthCare employee schedule here.
The second installment of our Making the Rounds series, Dr. John D'Orazio talks about how he likes to spend his vacations, his favorite foods and more.

Dr. John D’Orazio takes us back to his first day of medical school

The second installment of Making the Rounds features Dr. John D’Orazio, a clinician and researcher at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Making the Rounds is a Q&A series where you’ll get to know the providers at UK HealthCare and what they’re like outside the lab and clinic.

Making the RoundsDr. D’Orazio received his medical degree from University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, Fla. He then completed a Pediatrics residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. D’Orazio is of Italian descent, and he enjoys eating and cooking Italian food.

Dr. John D'Orazio

Dr. John D’Orazio

Where could someone find the most authentic Italian food in Lexington?

In Lexington? You’d have to come over to my house!

What do you like to cook yourself?

Well, the other night I made a good risotto. I make fresh pasta, and I make a sauce to go with it… Pizza – I do pizza a lot. The more toppings you can put on it and the less crust, the better for me!

Describe your ideal vacation.

So [my family and I] like nature. We like outdoors, we like hiking. I like photography. We’ve been three times up to the Yellowstone glacier. We’ve been a couple of times to Costa Rica – love it down there.

It would be a place like that, where you can just get away, you know. We like to rent a house for a week and just have a low-key time – go hiking, go fishing kind of a thing.

How would your friends describe you?

Optimistic, funny, kind.

Do you recall your first day of med school?

Yes. So I’m an MD, PhD – I’m a physician scientist. I did a kind of blended thing. But yes [I remember]. Just the great honor of sitting there and realizing that this is the beginning of a journey I followed my heart to.

You know, I’m the first person in my family to ever go to college, not even to mention med school. It was just a great honor, and I soaked it up like a sponge.


Watch this video to hear Dr. D’Orazio explain why making a connection with his patients is so important to him.


Next Steps