building a better second womb?

the new york times magazine recently ran a very lengthy article on heidelise als’ efforts to change neonatal intensive-care unit practices to help better the micropreemie odds:

“Als’s proclaimed mission is to make the intensive-care unit safe for the development of the brain. In a series of innovative studies, she has shown that a gentler environment in the N.I.C.U. can alleviate many of the complications of premature birth. ”You have to watch the baby, to listen to the baby,” she says. ”The baby is a partner in everything you do.” Als argues that N.I.C.U.’s must become quieter, darker and more responsive to a baby’s desire for comfort and movement; ultimately, they should be as reminiscent of the womb’s nurturing environment as doctors and nurses can make them.”

we were fortunate enough to spend most of our time in a nicu with personnel that tried their hardest to keep the environment quieter and darker. or at least as quiet and as dark as is possible given the circumstances.

but after we transferred to different nicu for emergency eye surgery we learned that not all nicus put as much effort into keeping things quiet and we’d have to ask to have the light dimmed ( even at night ) etc.

hopefully miss als’ work will become more recognized and adopted in the future so frustrated parents don’t have to fight for what’s so seemingly obviously good for babies born too soon.

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