Welcome to the second in a series of lectures on “Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine”, preceding the upcoming basic training in “Pre- and Perinatal Psychology. Prevention and Release of Birth Trauma”! This time we will meet you with Prof. Dr. Otwin Linderkamp, who will introduce the Neonatal Care Program in Heidelberg, which is called “Family-Centered Individualized Developmental Care” and is based on methods published by Als et al. (1986, 2004, 2009, 2011), Freud (1981, 1995), Ludington-Hoe and Golant (1993), Marcovich (1995), and Westrup (2015). Elements of this care program, the effectiveness of which the Heidelberg group is studying, include light reduction, minimizing intensive care, kangaroo care, music, mother’s voice, pain management, and electronic documentation.
One of the most complex adaptations in human’s experience is the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life. Many of the specific anatomical and physiological changes that prepare the baby for a healthy transition occur in the final weeks and days before birth—the ability to breathe regularly, establishing mature cardiovascular connections, establishing independent thermoregulation, and the ability to drink independently with little help from the mother.
With full-term pregnancy, the mother (and her social environment) is usually psychologically and physically prepared to meet her baby and his/her needs – the protection and warmth of her body, her voice and breast milk.
A premature baby appears unprepared for the transition from the womb to life outside the womb. Neither the baby nor the mother is ready for this separation. However, premature babies are often separated from their mothers in neonatal intensive care units, which are often located outside the hospital where they were born.
In the past years, hospital care for premature infants has focused only on stabilizing physiological parameters using various types of equipment, with the expectation that development will occur automatically as long as predefined vital parameters are maintained within the normal range. Although some authors early recommended to consider the psychosocial needs of the infant and his/her family in the NICU, very few neonatologists paid attention to the long-term psychological development.
The Heidelberg group found that, using Austrian neonatologist Marina Markovic’s principles of minimizing intensive care in favor of gentle care and personal attentiveness to babies and their families, the final outcomes were much better for the babies compared to the results of conventional care.
Prof. Dr. Otwin Linderkamp is a neonatologist, Professor and retired Director of the Department of Neonatology at the University of Heidelberg. He is actively working in the field of clinical hygiene, mainly in rehabilitation centers. He is still publishing on prenatal, perinatal and neonatal medicine. Among his research topics are the following: Advantages of delayed cord-clamping; family-centered care of preterm infant; developmental care of preterm infants in the NICU and during childhood; stress and early brain development; prenatal development of music taste. He is an active member of ISPPM, (Scientific Advisory Board of the ISPPM).
Link to the meeting
Join Zoom Meeting