“Stay close to your parents” – how a German association supports parents of preterm babies in times of pandemic

The association “Das frühgeborene Kind” e.V. with its nationwide network of self-help initiatives and counselling centres for families with preterm born infants is a contact and placement centre in Germany for all who need help and information regarding preterm births. In an interview with EFCNI Katrin Eglin, spokeswoman of “Das frühgeborene Kind” e.V., explains how the association is involved in the times of COVID-19

  1. Mrs Eglin, exchanging knowledge and sharing experience are always important but even more so in times of COVID-19. What do you offer to support your parent network now?
  • We extended the opening hours of our hotline for parents by one hour per day. Our service is now available from Monday to Friday for 4 hours per day. We offer helpful information on our website regarding Corona pandemic and the dealing with it during pregnancy, or labour.  We provide useful facts on the restrictions in NICUs or the parenthood at home and share simple ideas on how to keep the little ones happy and satisfied.
  • Furthermore, we created a factsheet for parents in the NICU, which can be downloaded for free.
  • Because of limitations for parents in the NICU, we made an appeal to the hospitals, for support of
    parents and their little ones even during times of COVID-19. We also highlighted and point out best practice examples of hospitals in Germany, which do not limit access of parents to the NICU


  1. What did it take to practically manage your service?

Not much, because we always rely on the (wo)menpower, in our hotline for example. We create and design our contents on our own, so it just took us a few hours to include the new topic, to publish contents on the website or to communicate and share issues in the newsletter and via Facebook.


  1. What should be taken into account by establishing a service as you did?

If you can’t create and design information materials on your own (as an organisation), you may need professional help. So it could be helpful to ask in your community, on Facebook for example, for pro bono support of professionals. Otherwise, you will need an extra budget to pay for the work.


  1. What would you recommend other parent organisations in times of COVID-19?

Stay close to your affected parents by telling and showing them, that they are not alone in this. Offer a list of links with helpful information, so they don’t need to review different sources on their own. Search for further organisations in your country to collaborate with and try to understand if you have a similar goal, for example, our appeal for unlimited access for parents to the NICU. The more supporters you can actively involve, the louder your voice will be!


  1. Is there more communication, more close contact since COVID-19 pandemic?

There is definitely more communication because many parents are concerned. We are also very thankful for many new supporters (companies and private individuals) we gained.

Thank you so much for your time and for giving this interview!

Katarina Eglin, Spokeswoman of “Das frühgeborene Kind” e.V. Copyright: EFCNI

Here you find more information about “das frühgeborene Kind e.V.” (German)

Appeal for more access to the NICU for parents (German):

Read the factsheet for parents (German):