Premise: Kangaroo care assists preterm infants to recover from birth-related fatigue.
Background: Very early kangaroo care in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Zimbabwe, Africa, was found favorable in terms of morbidity and morality.
Subjects: Infants who were between 30 and 36 weeks gestation were studied. These neonates had 5-minute Apgar scores of 6 or greater, no cyanosis of the head, no apparent genetic malformation, and approval of the attending neonatologist. Five neonates were 36 weeks gestation and one was 34 weeks gestation.Study Design: Two nurse researchers were assigned to each mother-neonate dyad. The infants were allowed to breastfeed and rest with the mother uninterrupted. The dyad was monitored for 6 hours, noting heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and temperature.
Findings: The researchers found that 34- to 36-week preterm infants recover from birth-related fatigue as demonstrated by physiologic and behavioral responses when placed skin-to-skin on their mothers chest sooner than those infants taken to the neonatal intensive care unit immediately after birth. For those infants that had temperatures return to normal, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation also remained normal. These infants were discharged in 48 hours, fully breastfeeding. This study suggested that kangaroo care can reduce birth-related fatigue safely in neonates 34 to 36 weeks gestation who appeared healthy at birth.
Research reviewed by Kay Liska, RN, while a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, in Richmond, VA.