Kangaroo mother care may increase survival odds for Premature and underweight newborns
Now, a new research is supporting a practice known as ‘kangaroo care’ that the World Health Organization (WHO) has long encouraged to reduce infant mortality, especially in developing nations. The researchers have found that if premature and underweight newborns are kept with their bare chests nestled directly against their mothers’ breasts then it may improve their survival chances.
‘Kangaroo care’ involves skin-to-skin contact between the newborn and mother, exclusive breastfeeding, rather than staying in hospital, care is provided at home. Study researchers have based their findings on the assessment of 124 studies.
The assessment has found that kangaroo care is linked with 36% reduced mortality among low birth weight newborns in comparison to conventional care. Study’s lead researcher Dr. Ellen Boundy and senior author Dr. Grace Chan from Harvard University said that there are many benefits associated with kangaroo more care, but despite those facts, its overall use across the globe remains low.
“Hopefully our study will provide a clear picture of the evidence on kangaroo mother care to help clinicians, families and policy-makers understand the benefits implementing this practice can have on newborn health”, affirmed Boundy and Chan.
Children born pre-term or have low birth weight, have increased risk of death, serious illness, developmental delays and chronic diseases. The researchers have found that around 4 million infants die every year in the first four weeks of life.
For now, the researchers could not find how kangaroo mother care helps increase survival rate of infants. But the study authors think that it might help newborns maintain a healthy body temperature and encourage breastfeeding. In fact, women practicing kangaroo care were having 50% more chance to exclusively breast-feed their babies.
Kangaroo care was linked with reduced risk of sepsis and reduced odds that infants would have extremely high or low body temperatures. Researcher Ruth Feldman from Bar-Ilan University in Israel said that mother’s physical proximity can reduce some of the adverse side effects of premature birth.
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