Growing up I was aware of the medical history of my NICU journey.  I am curious as to what impact my NICU experience as a patient has had on my life today. I recently came across an article from the Journal of Perinatology titled “Recognizing the Potential Effect of Stress and Trauma on Premature Infants in the NICU: How are outcomes affected?”

The study suggest that researchers are developing an increased understanding of the risk premature infants have related to developing psychological, emotional, and behavioral disturbances as a result of the trauma they endure as patients. The article abstract states, “Extensive research of the long term outcomes of premature infants has shown significant risk for emotional, behavioral, and psychological problems.”

Researchers Barker and Rutter discovered that during the average Neonatal ICU(NICU) stay an infant may undergo an average of 60 procedures many which may be painful and/or invasive. In addition it is noted that the persistent stress and/or traumatic events in the NICU during brain development is occurring at a profound rate, a factor researchers are taking seriously into account related to PTSD present within the NICU Infant/NICU Grad population. In the article Dr.Perry states that “It is important for us to abandon the myth that infants and children can get over it because they didn’t even know what was happening”.

As a NICU Grad I am grateful for the visibility researchers like Dr.Perry are shining onto this important matter. In my personal experience as an adult volunteering and serving in the  NICU I have often been questioned by the “myth” that I couldn’t possibly be aware of the trauma that I faced as a patient.

Personally upon returning to the NICU I have become increasingly aware of my own subconscious understanding and cellular knowledge of the trauma I survived as well as the self-healing journey I am currently on.I believe increasing the dialogue surrounding this topic holds great value for our current NICU community and future generations to come.

Sending a big thank you to all the researchers,health-care providers  and NICU Community members advocating for this topic!

As a NICU survivor have you ever been curious about the trauma you experienced as a NICU patient and/or NICU related PTSD?

Works Cited:

Maroney, D. (2003). Recognizing the Potential Effect of Stress and Trauma on Premature Infants in the NICU: How are Outcomes Affected? Recognizing the Potential Effect of Stress and Trauma on Premature Infants in the NICU: How Are Outcomes Affected?, EISSN: 1476-5543, 679-683. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

Author: Kathy Papac and Kathryn (Kat) Campos

Kathryn (Kat) Campos: Hello, I am a former 24 week gestation micro-preemie. I lost my twin brother Cruz at birth and encountered open heart surgery with no anesthesia at 3 weeks old weighing 1lb 3oz/0.58kg. I served on the University of Washington Medical Center Advisory Board Neonatal ICU Council from 2013 to 2015. I am passionate about assisting and supporting our Global NICU Community. If your a Preterm Birth/NICU Survivor this blog is dedicated to you, your family, and all members of the NICU Community. Together lets support other Preemie Survivors, Preemies, Preemie families, Preemie Community, Neonatal and related Staff, Providers, Professionals and Facilities. We ALL have stories to share and preemie journeys to help empower! Kathy Papac: Preemie Mom of surviving (Kathryn) and a deceased (Cruz) 24 week gestation twins. Neonatal Womb journeyer, counselor/legal expert with an MA certificate in Spirituality, Health and Medicine from Bastyr University. Passionate Global Community participant. Our goal is to recognize, honor and empower the Neonatal Womb community and shine light upon the presence and potentiality of the preterm birth survivors as vital community participants.

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