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Kangaroo care for the preterm infant and family

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Jefferies, AL; Canadian Paediatric Society. Fetus and Newborn Committee. Kangaroo care for the preterm infant and family. Paediatrics and Child Health, [S.l.], v. 17, n. 3, p. 141-143, 2012.

Kangaroo care (KC) is the practice of skin-to-skin contact between infant and parent. In developing countries, KC for low-birthweight infants has been shown to reduce mortality, severe illness, infection and length of hospital stay. KC is also beneficial for preterm infants in high-income countries. Cardiorespiratory and temperature stability, sleep organization and duration of quiet sleep, neurodevelopmental outcomes, breastfeeding and modulation of pain responses appear to be improved for preterm infants who have received KC during their hospital stay. No detrimental effects on physiological stability have been demonstrated for infants as young as 26 weeks’ gestational age, including those on assisted ventilation. Mothers show enhanced attachment behaviours and describe an increased sense of their role as a mother. The practice of KC should be encouraged in nurseries that care for preterm infants. Information is available to assist in developing guidelines and protocols.

Keywords: Family-centred care, Kangaroo care, Preterm infant, Skin-to-skin care