Kangaroo care for premature babies

woman in hospital holding her newborn
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15 million babies are born pretermº every year. Being pre-term means that a baby is born before the 37th week of gestation. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, pre-term babies are at greater risk for respiratory diseases, mental disabilities, amongst other complications. Even their lives are at stake due to lack of intervention, resources and intensive care provided in some health care facilities. However, research has shown that if babies are given physical contact several hours per day, their risks diminish.

Kangaroo care involves a mother holding her baby skin to skin in full contact with her body. The baby’s back must be covered with a blanket to keep {him/her} warm. Studies show that this method improves pre-term babies vital signs, development, and could even save their lives.

Why does it work? Studies suggest that a baby’s development and certain body systems, like heart rate, are sensitive to maternal contact. Therefore, when babies are pre-term, the development of these systems is disrupted. Kangaroo care is able to simulate the environment of the uterus, providing the warmth and maternal contact that babies are supposed to get when they’re developing in the womb.

Nowadays, we know how important it’s for a baby, especially a pre-term baby, to be given lots of physical contacts. Due to its great benefits, experts suggest that mothers practice Kangaroo care on all babies, pre-term or not.


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