How Immediate skin-to-skin contact is beneficial in very preterm birth setting

How Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact is Beneficial in Very Preterm Birth Setting

Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact Beneficial in Very Preterm Birth Setting

When it comes to the care of very preterm infants, immediate skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care, has been proven to have numerous benefits. Kangaroo care involves placing the newborn, wearing only a diaper, directly on the mother’s bare chest, providing warmth, comfort, and a nurturing environment.

Benefits of Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact

1. Temperature regulation: Very preterm infants have difficulty regulating their body temperature, and being in direct contact with the mother’s skin helps to stabilize their body temperature. The mother’s body acts as a natural incubator, providing warmth and preventing hypothermia.

2. Bonding and emotional connection: Skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding between the mother and her baby. It helps establish a strong emotional connection, which is crucial for the baby’s overall development and well-being. The physical closeness and touch stimulate the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which enhances the mother-infant bond.

3. Improved breastfeeding success: Kangaroo care has been shown to increase the success and duration of breastfeeding in preterm infants. The close proximity to the mother’s breast stimulates the baby’s natural instinct to breastfeed, leading to better latch and milk transfer. The mother’s body also produces breast milk more efficiently when in direct contact with her baby.

4. Reduced stress and pain: The soothing effect of skin-to-skin contact helps reduce stress and pain in preterm infants. The mother’s heartbeat, breathing, and voice provide a familiar and calming environment, which can alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation.

5. Enhanced physiological stability: Studies have shown that immediate skin-to-skin contact stabilizes the baby’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation levels. It helps regulate the baby’s physiological functions, leading to improved overall health and faster recovery.

Implementing Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact

In a very preterm birth setting, it is essential to prioritize immediate skin-to-skin contact as soon as the baby is stable. Healthcare providers should educate parents about the benefits of kangaroo care and encourage them to participate actively. Special care should be taken to ensure the mother’s comfort and safety during the process.

It is crucial to create a supportive environment that promotes skin-to-skin contact, even in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Healthcare professionals should work closely with parents to establish a routine that allows for regular kangaroo care sessions, ensuring the baby receives the maximum benefits.

In conclusion, immediate skin-to-skin contact has proven to be highly beneficial in very preterm birth settings. It provides numerous advantages, including temperature regulation, bonding, improved breastfeeding success, reduced stress and pain, and enhanced physiological stability. By prioritizing kangaroo care, healthcare providers can contribute to the overall well-being and development of preterm infants.