Researchers Recommend Kangaroo Mother Care Method To Reduce Risk of Mortality in Preterm Babies

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A recent study published in BMJ Global Health suggests that a kangaroo mother care (KMC) method involving skin-to-skin contact between low birth weight or prematurely born baby and the mother could significantly impact the child’s survival chances.

Kangaroo mother care is recommended within 24 hours of birth

The study suggests that beginning KMC within 24 hours of birth and continuing it for a minimum of eight hours daily can enhance its effectiveness in reducing infection and mortality. KMC involves carrying an infant, often by the mother, in a sling with skin-to-skin contact. Previous research has demonstrated that this method reduces mortality and the likelihood of infection for the child.

According to World Health Organization, following clinical stabilization, KMC is advisable for low birth-weight babies. Indian researchers reviewed large trials to determine the optimal time to start the intervention. They compared KMC with conventional care and early initiation (inside 24 hours) with later initiation to assess the impact on mortality and illness in preterm and low birth weight babies.

In an analysis of 31 studies encompassing 15,559 infants, researchers discovered promising outcomes associated with KMC. Among these studies, 27 focused on comparing KMC to standard care, while four investigated the impact of early versus delayed initiation of KMC.

KMC reduces the risk of mortality

The findings indicated a noteworthy 32% decrease in mortality risk during hospitalization after birth or within 28 days compared to conventional care. The reduction in mortality was consistently observed across multiple factors, including gestational age, weight upon enrollment, initiation timing, and the setting.

The review acknowledged certain limitations, such as biased intervention knowledge by participants and the exclusion of specific groups of neonates. However, the authors determined that the included studies had low bias risk, and their comprehensive search yielded moderate to high certainty evidence for the primary outcomes. In conclusion, researchers endorse KMC for preterm and low birth weight infants, recommending its initiation shortly after birth and for a minimum of eight hours daily.

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