Tags: kangaroo | care | premmie

Preemies' Benefit from ‘Kangaroo Care’

Friday, 21 Sep 2012 02:56 PM


Kangaroo Mother Care – a technique in which a breastfed infant remains in skin-to-skin contact with the parent's chest rather than being placed in an incubator – has lasting positive impact on the brain development of premature babies, new research shows.
The study, conducted by French researchers at the Université Laval, found very premature infants given such care had better brain functioning in adolescence – comparable adolescents born full term – than premmies placed in incubators.
The researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Acta Paediatrica, noted past studies have found infants born prior to the 33rd week of pregnancy experienced more cognitive and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence.
"Thanks to Kangaroo Mother Care, infants benefited from nervous system stimulation – the sound of the parent's heart and the warmth of their body – during a critical period for the development of neural connections between the cerebral hemispheres. This promoted immediate and future brain development," said neurophysiologist Cyril Schneider, who helped conduct the study.
To reach their conclusions, investigators compared the brain functions of 18 teens who were born premature and kept in incubators to 21 other adolescents born pre-term who received Kangaroo Care for an average of 29 days, as well as nine teens who were born after full-term pregnancies.
The results showed multiple brain functions of the Kangaroo Group group were comparable to those of the full-term group. On the other hand, teens who as infants had been placed in incubators significantly deviated from the other two groups.
Psychology researcher Réjean Tessier noted infants in incubators “receive a lot of stimulation, but often the stimulation is too intense and stressful for the brain capacity of the very premature.”
By contrast, Tessier said: “The Kangaroo Mother Care reproduces the natural conditions of the intrauterine environment in which the infants would have developed had they not been born premature. These beneficial effects on the brain are in evidence at least until adolescence and perhaps beyond."


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Premmies who maintain skin-to-skin contact with a parent, instead of being in an incubator, have healthier brain development.
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Friday, 21 Sep 2012 02:56 PM
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