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'Kangaroo care' offers developmental benefits for premature newborns
Date:7/10/2013

-Hoe reports that this approach is standard care in Scandinavia and Germany, where many preemies leave the hospital about three weeks earlier than in the United States. Also, KC is used in those countries after normal births and continues for three full months.

In previous research, benefits of KC have extended from childbirth to age 16, showing improved cognitive and motor development in newborns that received KC during hospitalization.

Neonatal intensive care units may adjust from open, brightly lighted nurseries to quieter single rooms, but such changes can't offer Kangaroo Care's scope of developmental benefits if the mothers aren't also there to snuggle their babies, Ludington-Hoe concludes.

Among the researcher's findings: babies respond more positively to their mothers than nurses, and experience less pain and stress when receiving some medical procedures while in their mothers' arms, and infant's brains mature faster and have better connectivity if they have received KC versus not having received KC. Mothers make the difference in how quickly preemies grow and develop.

Preemies held by their mothers in a prone position for an extended time tend to sleep better, which aids brain development. Infants adjust their heartbeats and body temperatures to their mother's and absorb immune benefits from their mother's skin, the researcher found.

Ludington-Hoe wrote Kangaroo Care: The Best You Can Do To Help Your Preterm Infant, a go-to guide since its publication in 1993. She also co-authored How to Have a Smarter Baby: The Infant Stimulation Program For Enhancing Your Baby's Natural Development with Susan K. Golant (1987).


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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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