According to Research, Kangaroo Style Mother Care May Be Beneficial to Preterm Babies

Dec 28, 2015 12:58 AM EST | By Pao Uychiat

Some babies are born premature and most of them are placed in incubators until such time that they achieve the exact desired weight before they are discharged. According to Live Science, babies who are born with a low birth weight that are held by their mothers skin to skin or what they call kangaroo style may have a lower risk of dying because of being premature. This theory was stated according to a new analysis of a previous research.

The researchers studied 124 relationships between the Kangaroo mother care and health outcomes of newborns. Some newborn babies who are born with a low birth weight which is less than 4.4 lbs. or about 2 kilograms. Researchers said that these babies receive the kangaroo mother care was found to have a 36 percent lower chance of dying because of being premature as compared to newborn babies with low birth weights who didn't receive such care. They also added that the same group of babies who receive this care was also said to have a 47 percent lower risk of having sepsis which is a serious illness that happens when the body has an unusual reaction to an infection.

Dr. Grace Chan, co-author of the analysis and an instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said in a statement that, "While [kangaroo mother care], or skin-to-skin care, is particularly useful for low-birth-weight babies born where medical resources are limited, developed and developing countries are moving to 'normalize' [kangaroo mother care] or skin-to-skin as a beneficial practice for all newborns and mothers."

68 percent of the total number of participants of the study included the analysis that kangaroo mother care as continuous and prolonged skin to skin contact between the mother and newborn baby. 13 percent included the combination of regular skin to skin contact including breast feeding. 19 percent included kangaroo care as early as being discharged from the hospital. For the 66 percent of the study that included the analysis, the doctors who did the study recommended less than 4 hours a day of skin to skin contact between the mother and the baby, and for the 25 percent of the study, they recommended 22 or more hours of skin to skin contact every day. In the remaining part of the study, they recommended about 4 to 21 hours of skin to skin contact per day.

The World Health Organization recommends continuous skin to skin contact for as long as you can per day is possible. This is to ensure that the health benefits of kangaroo care will be maximized. Dr. Chan added that some data suggest more than 22 hours a day may be beneficial but of course realistically it is very hard to do.

Between 8 to 12 hours may be doable and would be helpful. Finally, it is not clear why this method may be beneficial; however Dr. Chan said that one explanation is that the skin acts as a protective barrier against infections or skin problems for preterm babies. When mothers hold the babies very close, this may prevent the baby from being in contact with organisms that causes infections.

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