Reasons Why Doctors Should Endorse Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo Care

Physicians across the US, South America, and even Africa are now recommending skin-to-skin therapy for both pre-term and full-term infants. This is what is commonly known as kangaroo care.

This is mainly because research shows that skin-to-skin contact is safe and comes with a host of benefits. Here are some solid reasons why you, as a medical practitioner, should encourage the same.

It Facilitates Adaptability Outside the Womb

Most new mothers or parents for that matter do not know that most infants have a problem when it comes to thermal regulation. This is particularly true for pre-term babies.

You see, when babies are in their mother’s wombs, they do not need to regulate their temperature. Once they are outside, they may experience problems doing that.

The thing is that the mother’s or father’s skin has the same temperature as the womb, so establishing that contact with the baby helps them adapt better to the new environment outside the womb.

Increased Mental Development

Kangaroo care has been shown to have positive effects on the neurodevelopmental outcomes of pre-term infants, but specific long-term benefits in teenage years compared to full-term infants require broader research evidence for substantiation.

The practice is thought to improve sleep and oxygenation and regulate heart rate, which in turn leads to better brain development.

Healthy Weight Promotion

Kangaroo care has been associated with positive outcomes on the growth of pre-term infants, including potentially improved weight gain, as indicated in systematic reviews.

The thing is that when babies have all the warmth they need, there is no need for them to use their energy to stabilize their temperatures.

That saved energy is instead used to grow. Besides, babies who get skin-to-skin contact breastfeed better which ultimately leads to weight gain.

Easier Breastfeeding

Did you know that newborns come with a high sense of smell? It is no wonder, then, that they tend to recognize those around them simply by being held.

Anyway, skin-to-skin placement helps babies seek out their mother’s nipples so that they can start breastfeeding.

Mothers who practice kangaroo care are in a better position to do exclusive breastfeeding. Research shows that such mothers breastfeed longer than those who did not establish skin-to-skin with their newborns.

Promotes Better Respiration and Healthier Heart Rate

Kangaroo care may contribute to the stabilization of pre-term infants’ respiratory rates, but suggesting it can provide significant relief from respiratory issues within 48 hours without mechanical ventilation for all cases oversimplifies the complex care needs of pre-term infants with respiratory distress.

This leads to the conclusion that the heart rates of infants who receive kangaroo care are more stabilized than those of babies who do not get it at all.

Boosted Immunity

It is common for preterm babies to have compromised or poor immunity systems. This puts them at risk of feeding issues, infections, and allergies.

Early skin-to-skin therapy helps to dramatically diminish such issues since it boosts their immunity.

Increased Milk Supply

Since kangaroo care is one way that mother and child can be closest, it does help generate hormones that support a healthy supply of milk.

This ensures that there is enough milk for the baby to feed on, which can lead to other benefits like increased immunity and weight gain for the baby.

Reduced Pain and Fetal Stress

Even a few minutes of Kangaroo care can considerably reduce the cortisol hormone levels in babies, which are responsible for inducing stress.

You see, when there is skin-to-skin contact, the oxytocin hormone is released and it works to make babies feel safe and calm.

Studies suggest that kangaroo care can reduce pain responses to procedures like heel sticks in pre-term infants, but such outcomes can vary and are part of broader pain management and care strategies.

Helps in Preventing Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is common among mothers, but it can be reduced or even prevented using kangaroo care.

Childbirth negatively affects a woman’s adrenal axis and skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of her developing depression.

Moreover, the oxytocin hormone released during kangaroo care helps decrease maternal anxiety while promoting attachment.

Bottom Line

Childbirth is one of the greatest gifts but it can also be a source of pain and anxiety.

As a physician, you ensure that new mothers leave the hospital in the best possible physical and mental state.

Encouraging kangaroo care is one of the things that can help achieve that.

See Also

Surgeon Salary

Doximity Report

How to Become a Gynecologist

What Doctor Makes the Most Money

How to Become a Neurosurgeon

Grants for Single Mothers

Current Version
January 5, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 29, 2024
Updated By
Andleeb Asghar, PharmD

Follow us