Our goal at the Birth Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is for every mother to receive exceptional care that is tailored to her unique needs. To best serve our community, our team of experts including neonatologists, pediatricians, obstetricians, certified nurse midwives, family medicine providers, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, and pediatric registered dieticians, have partnered together to support a program for women who are taking opioids during pregnancy and their newborns.
Pregnant women may take opioids during pregnancy for various reasons, including managing pain, treating an opioid use disorder, or addiction and dependency. Newborns who are exposed to opioids in the womb can develop signs of withdrawal after birth known as Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome. The Birth Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Brenner Children’s Hospital have special expertise and is a leader in our region in providing these newborns with the best care possible.
Our comprehensive, innovative program for supporting these mothers and their newborns is called the HOOT Program (Helping Opioid Outcomes Together). Through a prenatal referral process from the obstetric provider, the expectant mother is connected with a pediatric provider that outlines the hospitalization of their infant after birth for withdrawal monitoring and the ongoing developmental and behavioral follow-up that takes place after discharge. Meeting with a pediatric provider before birth allows pregnant mothers the opportunity to have all questions answered and feel empowered and informed.
During the hospitalization, these newborns are cared for by a multidisciplinary team specifically trained in meeting their special needs. The HOOT Program provides the only opportunity in the area for comprehensive follow-up after hospital discharge for these special babies. Babies exposed to opioids in the womb are at higher risk of developmental delays, behavior and learning problems, vision problems, speech and language problems, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The HOOT Program helps families to make a smooth transition from hospital to home and help achieve the best possible health and developmental outcomes for the infants. Health professionals in the HOOT Program are part of the medical team at Brenner Children’s Hospital. They assess the child’s growth and development, monitor and treat any chronic illnesses, and work closely with the infant’s primary care provider.
After hospital discharge, the HOOT Program includes 2 years of follow-up visits. At each visit, staff will review the child’s history, examine the child, perform developmental and behavioral assessments, and discuss the family’s concerns and questions. An initial visit is scheduled about 1 month after the baby is discharged from the hospital. This visit lasts for about 45-60 minutes. Subsequent visits generally last for about 45 minutes. These occur when the baby is 6, 12, and 18 months. The final visit at 24 months is a 2 hour visit and includes developmental testing by a certified specialist. If continued follow-up is necessary, the HOOT Program staff will refer the child to a developmental and behavioral pediatric specialist through Brenner Children’s Hospital.
Visits for the HOOT Program are located at Amos Cottage, 3325 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. For more information, call 336-713-7426.