Scientist Unveils Close Contact Method to Drastically Reduce Premature Infant Mortality Risk

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According to a study published online in the journal BMJ Global Health, skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her prematurely born or low-birth-weight baby appears to significantly impact the child’s chances of survival. 

Eurek Alert Reported that Researchers discovered that beginning the intervention within 24 hours of delivery and continuing it for at least eight hours each day seems to make it even more beneficial in lowering mortality and infection. 

The “Kangaroo mother care” (KMC) form of childcare entails a newborn being held, typically by the mother, in a sling with skin-to-skin contact. Many studies have previously proven that this practice can lower a kid’s mortality and risk of infection. After clinical stabilization, the World Health Organization advises it as the standard of care for low birth weight infants. 

The best timing to start the intervention must be better understood. Consequently, researchers from India reviewed several sizable, multi-nation, and community-based randomized trials. They sought to determine the impact of starting KMC early (within 24 hours of the birth) versus later on neonatal and infant mortality as well as severe illness among low birth weight and preterm infants by examining previous studies and comparing KMC with conventional care.  

They examined 31 trials totaling 15,559 infants, of which 27 studies compared KMC with standard care and four research contrasted early with the late introduction of KMC. Data analysis revealed that KMC, compared to standard treatment, appears to lower mortality risk by 32% during labor and delivery or by 28 days after birth and by 15% for severe infections like sepsis. 

It also turned out that the death rate was reduced regardless of the child’s weight or gestational age at enrollment, the KMC’s start time, or the location (hospital or community). Additionally, it was observed that longer-than-usual KMC had a more considerable mortality benefit when the daily length was at least eight hours. 

Studies that compared early and late-initiated KMC found a 33% reduction in infant mortality and a likely 15% reduction in the incidence of clinical sepsis up to 28 days after early KMC commencement. The review had some limitations, including the fact that many trials excluded light birth weight, extremely preterm, seriously unstable neonates, and those involving an intervention that participants were obviously aware of. 

However, the review authors said that the risk of bias in the included studies was generally low and that the certainty of the evidence for the significant outcomes was moderate to high because their analysis had included a thorough and systematic search of existing studies. 

According to their findings, KMC should be used for preterm and low birth weight infants as soon as feasible after birth and for at least eight hours daily. “Future research should concentrate on overcoming obstacles and enablers to extensive KMC implementation in facility and community settings. We also require information on long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes. 

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