The dilemma: Premature babies cannot keep their own bodies warm. That's why you often see images of itty-bitty babies in warming incubators designed to keep their struggling little bodies at a happy 98.6 degrees.
But that's here in the U.S. or in other wealthy nations. Those hospital-grade incubators, which run about $20,000, are not available to mothers in most developing nations, so how can mothers and health aides keep babies warm without the expense?
This was the question posed by Stanford University grad student Jan Chen in 2007. Chen and four fellow MBA candidates interviewed moms, midwives and doctors in Nepal and realized that they needed to develop a product that was not only inexpensive, but also portable and operable without electricity (as many rural areas don't have this luxury.)
The solution: A warm Embrace. While it may not look like much, the Embrace sleeping bag may just be the miracle that preemie babies need. The magic lies in a tiny outside pocket that holds a wax-like substance that can store heat at body temperature for long periods. New moms can simply melt the stuff on a cook stove and place it in the bag's pocket to keep the baby at a steady 98.6 degrees for 4-6 hours. Then she just reheats it material and starts again.
The best part? The Embrace warmer costs less than $100.
Now that's good news for preemies all over the world.
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.