Continuing Education Module—Kangaroo Mother Care 2: Potential Beneficial Impacts on Brain Development in Premature Infants

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Kangaroo mother care (KMC) involves infant skin-to-skin contact with the mother from as soon as possible after birth, exclusive breastfeeding, early discharge from the health facility, and supportive follow-up at home. Much evidence supports use of KMC clinically as an aid to mitigating some detrimental features of prematurity. This article—the second of two—explores impairments in brain development because of uncongenial inputs from the postnatal therapeutic environment of premature infants, not encountered in utero, and some of their negative neurobehavioral, psychosocial, sociocultural, and economic implications. It is concluded that evidence favoring the use of KMC in stable preterm infants is very strong and that, as noted by others, barriers to implementation of KMC, apart from infant infirmity, are mainly because of hesitancy from parents, health-care professional, and/or institutions, which may be unfounded.

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