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B. Promoting Good Newborn Health

Narrator: This is Science Today. Although recent legislation mandated a minimum 48 hour postpartum hospital stay, how long a mother remains in a hospital with her newborn baby is still sparking debate. University of California, San Francisco family medicine researcher, Susan Egerter, says the focus should really be on follow-up care.

Egerter: The answer is not necessarily that women and babies should stay in the hospital longer, but that they should be getting care after they leave the hospital, either in a clinical setting or at home with a nurse home visit.

Narrator: These visits, Egerter says, should take place during the important third and fourth day of a newborn's life, when many medical ailments, such as jaundice, are more likely to occur.

Egerter: There are also other things like, whether breast feeding is going well, giving parents advice about what to look for - potential problems, how to take care of their babies, that used to happen in the hospital that can happen in another setting and should happen in another setting. So, it's not just medical problems, but it's promoting good health.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.