The arrival of a new baby is an amazing time for a family, but for those whose babies have to spend days or weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit, the time apart can be very difficult.
In tonight's Healthier Me, Christine Corrado reports on how new technology is making that separation a little easier. Web cams aren't just for adults anymore; ten US hospitals have set up webcam systems to connect families to their newborns.
Seeing their little baby on the NICVIEW webcam system was a huge comfort to parents Kori and Jeff Keller. "To be able to wake up and see his chest rising and falling and my husband's hands inside the incubator being able to touch him was a sense of relief that I don't know I could put into words," Kori said.
The Kellers were the first patients to use the web cam when baby Bauer was born, and it was through NICVIEW in her recovery room in 2011 that mom Kori saw Bauer for the first time.
The Keller family had previously lost their baby girl, Ramsey, two days after she was born and hadn't been able to monitor their daughter from the hospital room.
"If we would have had the NICVIEW cam, we would have seen distress," Kori says. "They maybe could have told us a little bit earlier that there was distress, then we maybe could have, you know, been there sooner than what we were."
Individual cameras are mounted above each isolette to provide parents with real-time viewing.
Perinatologist Dr. Roger Wallace says, "It's become very apparent that parents have a real time of anxiety until they're able to connect with their baby and know what's going on."
With the NICVIEW system, even those who may be deployed abroad can keep tabs on their newborns in real-time. "And," Dr. Wallace adds, "other family members are able to see what's going on with the baby as well."
This technology isn't limited to hospitals, either; there are also new baby monitor units with video that you use in your home to watch your baby. Most of the kits include a monitor and wireless camera, and some can even be operated with your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. The average price is around $100.