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The Parent Partnership Unit

Babies born with any known exposure to opioids must undergo observation by a pediatrician for a minimum of five to seven days in the hospital. They may develop opioid withdrawal symptoms called neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). NOWS puts a small percent of newborns at risk for extended care and treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital Parent Partnership Unit (PPU) is an inpatient program for babies who may experience NOWS. You and one support person will be able to room-in with baby, but visitation is otherwise limited to help maintain a therapeutic atmosphere for the baby.

What the PPU Does

The goal of the PPU is to provide your newborn with outstanding care while you receive the support you need to develop as a parent and continue to manage your recovery from opioid use disorder. 

The program supports you, your baby, and your family by allowing you to help care for your baby as they are being observed for signs of NOWS. It will help you develop a deeper connection with your baby as you strengthen your skills as a parent, no matter if this is your first baby or you’re already an experienced caregiver. 

PPU Program Highlights

You and your baby will share a private room throughout your hospital stay. This quiet, serene atmosphere often can reduce your baby’s need for medication to treat NOWS. You’ll be directly involved in your baby’s daily care, including feeding, changing diapers, cuddling, and soothing your baby.

As you develop a strong, healthy bond with your baby, daily education and self-care sessions will help you learn how to better care for both yourself and your baby. We also will connect you with valuable resources you’ll need after leaving the hospital. Peer specialists — women who are in recovery themselves — are available to provide you with encouragement and understanding.

Daily Education and Self-Care Sessions

As a PPU participant, you and one support person will engage in a variety of daily activities that include:

  • Creating a safe environment.
  • Breastfeeding/feeding support.
  • Baby care.
  • Developmental support.
  • Nutrition.
  • Accessing community resources.

PPU Expectations

To ensure that you and your baby experience all the benefits of the PPU we ask:

  • You are the primary caregiver for your infant, responsible for feeding, diapering, bathing, and providing skin-to-skin touch with staff support.
  • You and/or your support person aim to remain on the unit and care for your newborn for the majority of the hospitalization.

Next Steps

For more information, please contact UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital Pregnancy and Women’s Recovery Center at 412-641-1211.