Karen Lasby’s more than thirty-five-year nursing career includes NICU roles as bedside nurse, transport nurse and educator, pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, and community health. Karen leads a specialized nursing team in post-discharge follow-up of extremely premature infants and their families, the only team of its kind in Canada. She has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the topics of premature babies, neonatal oral feeding, and NICU-to-home transition. She has been the co-investigator in several research studies examining outcomes for very low birth weight infants and has published several professional articles on maternal work in the NICU, neonatal transition, and gastroesophageal reflux. An educator for nearly thirty years, Karen has taught, written instructional material, and produced online courses for neonatal nursing programs. Formerly the president of the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses, she served on this national board for twelve years, and on the board of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses for three years. Karen has a master’s degree in nursing and a neonatal nursing specialty certification with the Canadian Nurses Association and her work has been recognized by the Canadian Institute of Child Health and College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta.
What inspired you to write Preemie Care?
Inspiration for my co-author and I came from our 50+ years in both the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and in the community following premature babies and their families. We know the positive impact that post-discharge neonatal nursing guidance can have on the journey of families with premature babies. Families encouraged me to write a book to support the many families who do not have neonatal nursing follow-up. Without a reliable information source or informed health care provider, families feel “lost at sea”. A book was needed to help parents know what to expect, identify deviations from normal, and act quickly to reduce problems or better yet, prevent them.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about premature babies?
The biggest misconception is that premature babies are small full-term babies. Premature babies do not look or behave like full-term babies for a long time. Premature babies will initially have special needs and parents can not simply treat them like a full-term baby. Parents need guidance to help navigate the first year with their special baby.
Another misconception about preemies is that prematurity guarantees life-long health problems. In fact, most babies who are born a month or more early will not have health problems. While it is true that the more premature your baby is, the greater the risk for health sequelae, the percentage of very premature babies with major health problems is low (20%).
Having a premature baby can feel like an unexpected journey on rough seas. With extensive and up-to-date information about how to look after your little one, Preemie Care will be a life preserver through these tumultuous waters and will help steer you confidently through the first year of your baby’s life.