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The Importance and Major Developments in Neonatology

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Thousands of years ago, since the creation of man, there was the multiplication of human beings. Therefore, there was generation decency, the procreation, and births of babies. From there the life cycle is maintained, which is to be born, to grow, and die. Each birth was attended by a midwife. Which is a person who has skills during the gestation months and to attend and help the mother to receive the birth of the newborn. The midwife had knowledge of how the birth of a newborn happens but did not have the knowledge to be able to diagnose any congenital diseases that came with the newborn. During the 19th century, an in-depth study was made of the delivery, and conception of newborns. Since it is very important to know how the newborn will survive. Including if the baby arrives healthy or with genetic defects.

Before the late 19th century, physicians did not really care about newborns. Which is really devastating to hear because each time a baby is born a new generation is born as well. It was obstetricians who were in real charge and interested to investigate the origins and how to care for the newborn. Obstetricians specialize in medicine and surgery that has to do with the newborn. They also care for women that have given birth. Later on, pediatricians slowly started getting interested in the science of the newborn. According to Alistair G. S. Philip from Stanford University School of Medicine, “In the mid-20th century, many pediatricians demonstrated an interest in the newborn; the primary responsibility for these infants passed from the obstetrician to the pediatrician”. Both obstetricians and pediatricians contribute to helping the mother and the newborn baby get the best possible attention they need in order to live a healthy and happy life.

During the 19th century, according to the statistics and studies carried out by physicians, obstetricians, and gynecologists. This group of doctors dedicated themselves to the direct care of the mother and also to the newborn. Since nowadays medicine and technology is so advanced that we can know the size, weight, and sex of the baby. The major breakthroughs of neonatology are many however, we will only focus on three. The first breakthrough that changes the care for newborns is the incubator. Couney was the person who invented the incubator for premature infants. The incubator is a square or rectangular see-through the enclosure in which the newborn is kept in. Because it is a controlled environment that can easily be modified if needed. It includes a heater, a fan, humidifier, and a control flap where oxygen can be added. The incubator also had open access holes where nurses can reach inside and care for the newborn. In the early 20th century, premature birth was one of the highest causes of infant mortality. There are several causes to why a baby is born prematurely.

Causes can be problems such as having stress, smoking cigarettes or using illegal drugs, and high blood pressure or diabetes. Stress can damage the mental and emotional health of the pregnant mother which can also affect the baby. Smoking cigarettes and using illegal drugs can be a cause on why the baby is premature. Smoking cigarettes can cause problems with the placenta of the mother. Which is very important for the baby because their oxygen and food come from there. The placenta can be separated from the womb too early and can cause extreme bleeding. This can be both dangerous for the mother and the baby’s life before being born and after. Using illegal drugs can also be harmful because they can have heart defects and low birth weight. The mother cannot be able to get pregnant and this is called infertility. Lastly, high blood pressure or diabetes can cause a baby to be born prematurely. They can also have health issues later on throughout their life. Having high blood pressure can cause issues with your placenta. Meaning that your baby will not get enough oxygen and nutrients and causes bleeding to the mother. Having diabetes during your pregnancy can affect your baby immensely. Your baby can develop diabetes later on or can have problems with low blood levels after birth. The incubator helped observe these medical problems and help the infant get better. However, there were another breakthrough that contributed to the advancement in Neonatology.

The second breakthrough is helping babies breathe easier. In the 1970s is when remarkable changes to helping the premature baby breathe easier. According to Weber State University, College of science, “Dr. Gregory who is a pediatric anesthesiologist and an international expert in the care of newborns before and after surgery. Dr. Gregory has made numerous contributions to neonatology, including the introduction of continuous positive airway pressure to treat respiratory distress syndrome. ” Ever since George Gregory proved the success of the CPAP it helped premature infants immensely. Because it was able give the premature baby respiratory support. The CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy. It is a machine that increases the air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in. The baby might have some difficulty breathing on its own because it was born premature. When the baby is born premature not everything inside the newborn is developed fully yet. Since the lungs are not nature yet the baby will have a hard time breathing.

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