New Preemie Invention Lets Babies Stay Attached to the Cord
When babies are born prematurely, they usually need all the help they can get as they transition into life outside of the womb.
Everything is harder for premature babies, from staying warm to eating and learning how to breathe, and because every baby develops differently in the womb, there's also no real way to know how exactly a baby is going to do outside of the womb either. A 35-week-old baby, for instance, may have breathing troubles, while a younger baby might not. You just never know.
One of the challenges in working with premature babies is transporting them to either a NICU or a larger facility that is equipped to handle the needs of a preemie baby, which means that the newborns will have to be immediately taken from their mothers.
In fact, the benefits of delayed cord clamping in premature babies, which is when babies are left attached to the umbilical cord after birth, is widely known by scientists. Delayed cord clamping is a practice that is routine in many places in the world and that compels doctors to wait at least 30-60 seconds after birth before cutting the cord.
That might not seem like a lot of time, but trust me, when you're in an emergency premature-baby situation, those seconds will feel like hours.
But back to the topic at hand.
So even though doctors and the AAP know that delayed cord clamping for premature babies does more good than harm, it's still hard to carry out in practice when all those docs and families want to do is whisk that tiny baby away as fast as humanly possible and get him or her breathing.
Which is why a new invention that allows babies to remain attached to the umbilical cord and be resuscitated at the same time is so, so cool.
Just introduced in Canada, the machine is basically a portable resuscitation machine that can be wheeled right to a mother's bedside, leaving the baby attached to the umbilical cord while the team works on the baby right there. Optimally, the WHO recommends letting the baby remain attached for three minutes, so that's quite a bit of time when you're talking resuscitating a baby. And yet every drop of blood that baby can get from the placenta is also a huge boost to their blood and oxygen supplies, too, so integrating the two efforts is amazing.
This machine basically brings the NICU temporarily to the premature baby, lets them get the final blood needed, and then the baby can be transported to more integrative machines. The only potential problem I could see with the machine is that it could be really stressful for the poor parents to see their baby being worked on right next to them. But in a true emergency, it's going to be stressful either way, and as a parent, I would want my baby to have every last resource at his or her disposal to fight.
What do you think of this new invention?