Beacon Transcript – The Kangaroo Mother Care technique, especially used with premature babies, may potentially have long-term beneficial effects, according to a new study.
Research for the study was carried out by a team of Kangaroo Foundation researchers. Their results were published this Monday, in the Pediatrics journal.
Kangaroo Mother Care is the name given to a direct contact nursing technique. This implies that preterm babies be carried and maintain a skin-to-skin contact with their mothers.
The method has been proven useful for both preterm and full-term born babies. It was deemed as an easy-to-use, but powerful method that promotes the baby’s health and well-being.
According to the WHO or the World Health Organization, the method is also safe. The organization released a series of information in regards to it.
Kangaroo Mother Care can be initiated whilst still in the hospital. As the small babies will be discharged earlier, mothers will require follow-ups and adequate home support.
The method can be continued at home and has the two following characteristics. It involves an early and continuous direct skin contact between the mother and the infant. Specialists also advise, but do not impose, exclusive breastfeeding.
WHO pointed out that the method is both gentle and effective. Its use both in the hospital and at home may help avoid the usual agitation experienced in such places. It especially contributes in combating busy preterm infant hospital wards.
The organization also pointed out that its effectiveness has been quite medically proven. It has been implemented and used for just about 2 decades and has been studies for just as long.
All these research methods show that it is a more than viable alternative to the incubator care.
As such, the WHO is promoting the simpler approach, especially alongside modern medical care. That is not to say that high-tech care is not useful, or necessary in some cases.
The most recent study sought to also prove its long-term effects. Dr. Nathalie Charpak, of the aforementioned Kangaroo Foundation, and her colleagues were in charge.
Dr. Charpak and her team are also the first to attest the method’s efficiency. Kangaroo Mother Care was first deemed safe some twenty years ago, in Colombia.
As the first study participants are now 20 something years-old, the team decided to do a follow-up to the initial research.
Amongst the 716 original babies, researchers managed to track down 494 now-adults. Born prematurely in between 1993 and 1996, the 716 children were randomly assigned the standard or kangaroo care.
Dr. Charpak stated that the effects of the kangaroo care are still visible. The initial effects targeted the IQ and the home environment after a year of life.
According to Charpak, the same results are also present now, some 2 decades later. As such, it was observed that Kangaroo Mother Care mother still are more nurturing and protective.
The researchers also pointed out the now young adults’ behavior. Former kangaroo babies were seen to be less hyperactive or impulsive. In poorer families especially, they were also observed to be less aggressive.
Kangaroo participants were also less antisocial. This is a characteristic which is sometimes linked by researchers to mother-infant birth separation.
Such babies were also seen to be 39 percent more likely to reach adulthood years.
However, Dr. Charpak pointed out that the therapy is not a miracle worker. In cases of more serious preterm birth consequences, the kangaroo care had the same results as the normal system.
Still, the overall findings highlighted the effectiveness of the method. The study researchers suggested that the Kangaroo Mother Care is now a scientifically-based health intervention.
It should also be safe, efficient, and powerful to use in any environment.
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