A Brave New NICU | Fit Pregnancy

A Brave New NICU

Heidelise Als, Ph.D., is working passionately to make preemies' stays in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) less stressful and more comfortable to foster proper brain development.

Heidelise Als, Ph.D., is working passionately to make preemies' stays in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) less stressful and more comfortable to foster proper brain development. Als, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of neurobehavioral infant and child studies at Children's Hospital Boston, is the founder of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care Assessment Program, which currently has training centers in nine U.S. cities.


Als' hope is that someday, this is what all NICUs will look like: "After delivery, mom and baby will go into their own room--a private 'womb room'--within the NICU. The room will be quiet, semi-dark and the temperature will be adjusted to the baby; the parents will be able to provide beneficial kangaroo-style skin-to-skin contact," she says. Mom and dad will sleep in the room with their baby, and care will be given in the least stressful way, such as taking vital signs with the baby cradled in her mother's arms. For more information, go to nidcap.com.

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