WORLD PREMATURITY DAY
A parent’s embrace: a powerful therapy. Enable skin-to-skin contact from the moment of birth
This year for World Prematurity Day, we’re raising awareness about Kangaroo Care (KC) with the global call to action “A Parent’s embrace: a powerful therapy, enable skin-to-skin contact from the moment of birth.” KC is the care of preterm or low birth weight infants in continuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with the mother or father. The benefits of KC from the moment of birth for both the infant and the mother include improved thermal regulation, infection prevention, breastmilk let-down, positive facilitation of physiological, behavioural, psychosocial, and neurodevelopmental effects, and a reduced risk of neonatal mortality by 40%.
Despite the benefits of skin-to-skin care for preterm/underweight infants, implementing KC as a practice has been a persistent challenge globally. Only a few countries have successfully standardised skin-to-skin care, making it unavailable to many families. Many healthcare systems need to translate this evidence into policy and practice, which requires a shift in the ‘classical’ newborn unit care model, which separates the mother and baby especially if the baby is born too small or too sick. With KC, we present a vision where mothers, newborns, and families form an inseparable centre around which the entire maternal newborn service delivery is organised.
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