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Best practice №18

Consider parental rooming-in with the newborn when safety of mother and newborn can be ensured

by Alexandra Iacob, Angela Huang, Kathryn Ponder, Lisa Chyi, Pamela Aron-Johnson, Priya Jegatheesan

Last updated September 3rd, 2020

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Parental rooming-in with a newborn should be considered when a plan can be implemented to ensure safe care of the mother and newborn. 

Why we are recommending this best practice

Rooming in and/or parental presence at the newborn’s bedside supports dyad care and bonding, and can reduce pharmacotherapy use and length of stay.

Strategies for implementation

  • If rooming in is being considered, it is important to establish a patient care plan that includes assessment of the patient for appropriateness to room in and nursing vigilance to prevent and monitor for potential adverse events due to rooming in.

  • It is also important to ensure that staff approach mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD) in a respectful and non-judgmental manner to optimize use of non-pharmacologic methods for managing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

  • Safe sleep habits should be taught and reinforced by staff throughout the hospital stay to prepare for discharge. 


  • Macmillan KDL, Rendon CP, Verma K, Riblet N, Washer DB, Holmes AV. Association of rooming-in with outcomes for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(4):345. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.5195.
  • Howard MB, Schiff DM, Penwill N, et al. Impact of parental presence at infants' bedside on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Hosp Pediatr. 2017;7(2):63-69. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2016-0147.
  • Holmes AV, Atwood EC, Whalen B, et al. Rooming-in to treat Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: improved family-centered care at lower cost. Pediatrics. 2016;137(6): e20152929. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-2929.
  • Kandall SR, Gaines J, Habel L, et al. Relationship of maternal substance abuse to subsequent sudden infant death syndrome in offspring. J Pediatr. 1993;123(1):120-126. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)81554-9.

Alexandra Iacob


Dr. Alexandra Iacob is a Neonatal-Perinatal Fellow at University of California, Irvine (UCI) based out of UCI Medical Center and Miller Children's and Women's Hospital Long Beach. While in fellowship, she is also pursuing a Master in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She is passionate about improving neonatal outcomes across all socioeconomic classes via both quality improvement projects and policy efforts. She is particularly interested in neonatal abstinence syndrome and the impact it has on the mother, the baby, and the family as a whole.

Angela Huang


Angela Huang is a clinical nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center,  where she is also a nurse coordinator managing and leading quality improvement and research projects.  She is actively involved in hospital-wide and county-wide opioid use reduction initiatives, specifically outcome improvement for mother/infant dyads with a history of substance use and exposure.  Angela is also the co-chair for the CPQCC Maternal Substance Exposures Workgroup which is assessing the statewide scope of NAS and NAS management practices.

Kathryn Ponder


Dr. Ponder is a neonatologist with East Bay Newborn Specialists, working in the neonatal intensive care units at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Oakland, John Muir Walnut Creek, and Alta Bates hospitals. She is also the director of the John Muir High Risk Infant Follow-Up clinic. She has revised her practice’s guidelines for the care of infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and is leading a quality improvement initiative at John Muir to implement these changes. She has previously conducted research and published in the fields of developmental/placental biology and maternal health. She continues to be interested in the developmental origins of disease and optimizing neurodevelopmental outcomes for infants.

Lisa Chyi


Dr. Lisa Chyi is a practicing neonatologist at Kaiser Walnut Creek.  She is co-chair for the CPQCC Maternal Substance Exposures Workgroup which is assessing the statewide scope of NAS and NAS management practices.  She also helped develop the NAS management guideline and oversees NAS patient care for the Kaiser Northern California region.

Pamela Aron-Johnson


Pamela  has been at UCI Medical Center in Irvine, California for 35 years in several roles including staff nurse in the NICU for 17 years, Outpatient Nurse Manager for Primary and Specialty Services, and currently the Quality and Patient Safety Advisor for the NICU and OB departments. She is also a member of the Data Committee Advisory Group for CPQCC, and is the data nurse coordinator at UCI for both CPQCC and CMQCC. 

Priya Jegatheesan


Dr. Priya Jegatheesan is the Chief of Newborn Medicine and the Regional NICU Director for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, an institution committed to the medically underserved. Her main area of interest is outcomes and data-driven quality improvement. She established a comprehensive computerized database system in the SCVMC NICU that enables prospective data collection for quality improvement  and research.  She also actively participates in CPQCC’s Perinatal Quality Improvement Panel and chaired the QI infrastructure sub-committee for 2 years.  She became a member of the Society for Pediatric Research in 2014 and has actively participated in clinical research. She is currently the study site Principal Investigator for a NIH funded multi-center study evaluating ondansetron (5HT3 antagonist) for prevention of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns born to mothers who had chronic opioid use during pregnancy. She is a passionate champion for optimizing care of newborns exposed to substances during pregnancy to prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome by promoting mother-infant couplet care.