This article was translated from the Swedish article http://www.newsner.com/forskning-det-haender-naer-mammor-baer-sina-nyfoedda-barn-direkt-mot-huden
“Skin to Skin Contact (SSC) also known as Kangaroo Mother Care is good for your baby, especially if the baby is born too early. A study from Örebro University shows that premature babies’ pain decreases when they have skin contact with their mother. But SSC is good for all small babies – not only those who were born prematurely. SSC is when newborns have skin-to-skin contact with the mother.
According to the World Health Organization, the method is useful for children who have been born premature and full-term babies. “The method is very effective and easy to use to promote health and well-being,” writes the WHO in a document containing practical guidelines concerning KMC.
A study from Örebro University, published in Acta Paediatrica 105 pp376-380 last fall, shows that skin to skin contact works as pain relief for children who are born prematurely.
Premature babies are sensitive to pain, because the brain and nervous system is under-developed. Pain can cause damage to the baby- but so can analgesics or sedatives. So SSC was studied as an alternative.
– It’s a pain relief method that gives no harm, but only has a positive effect, says Emma Olsson, PhD in medicine at Örebro University, in a statement.
Emma Olsson also works as a nurse in a neonatal unit. She has done the study with Mats Eriksson, a specialist nurse in intensive care, and medical researchers at Örebro University.
The babies in the study were born between gestational weeks 26 and 35. The researchers took blood samples from the babies on two occasions, once when they were in incubators and once when they were close to their mothers. The result shows that when the children were in the incubator, the amount of oxygenated hemoglobin in the brain is larger. According to Emma Olsson, Oxygenation consumption increases when babies experience pain.
– After the premature babies were skin to skin with their mother, the increase was not as high. They did not therefore feel as much pain. Skin-to-skin is a simple and cheap method that also gives parents an active role.
To wear or hold baby skin to skin has been shown to be good for all newborns. It is effective to maintain the correct body temperature, for breastfeeding and for secure attachment.”