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Sunday, June 13, 2021

May 15 is celebrated as International Kangaroo Mother Care Awareness Day

Kangaroo mother care refers to the practice of providing continuous skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: May 16, 2021 2:44:27 am
KMC is the most feasible, readily available and preferred intervention for decreasing neonatal morbidity and mortality in developed and developing countries. (Representational image: Pixabay)

At Pune’s KEM hospital all mothers are encouraged to provide Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) to their babies at the earliest and as frequently as possible. It is extremely important that more mothers are made aware about the benefits of KMC and provided with correct information to enable them to make an informed decision, Dr Umesh Vaidya, Head of the neo natal intensive care unit of KEM hospital said.

Kangaroo mother care refers to the practice of providing continuous skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby. It is the most feasible, readily available and preferred intervention for decreasing neonatal morbidity and mortality in developed and developing countries. KMC is extremely beneficial for babies who are born prematurely and have low birth weights.

According to WHO, it is estimated that every year more than 20 million infants are born weighing less than 2.5 Kg, of which 96 per cent are born in developing countries. Research suggests that KMC is a safe and effective alternative to conventional neonatal care, especially in resource limited settings. Various studies have compared KMC to conventional neonatal care and KMC was found to reduce mortality at discharge and also reduce severe infections/ sepsis, nosocomial infections, hypothermia, severe illness and respiratory tract disease in low birth weight babies, Dr Vaidya said.

Stable babies requiring some oxygen support and intravenous nutrition are also started with KMC. According to Dr Vaidya, some mothers enjoy giving group KMC to their babies along with other mothers. This helps them feel more confident and comfortable. With such routine and supervised KMC practice in the NICU, a new mom, who might be anxious or scared to hold her baby, feels more supported and encouraged.

KMC should be practiced till the baby reaches term (gestational age around 40 weeks) or 2500g. Around that time the baby might outgrow the need for KMC. This is when it is safe to advise the mother to wean the baby gradually from KMC. Kangaroo care creates an optimal environment for adaptation of preterm babies to extra-uterine life and also provide their mothers, with the satisfaction of completing their gestation even after giving a preterm birth, Dr Vaidya said.

Rashmi Poduval and Sayali Sathe,Lactation consultants, KEM Hospital, said that chairs have been designed especially for KMC at KEM hospital, Pune. An innovative need-based, customized and comfortable chair can be used for giving KMC. Such an innovative chair would facilitate comfortable and longer duration of KMC, resulting in maximum benefit to low birth weight babies and long duration of successful Kangaroo care in these babies.

KMC is an ideal method since the baby is rocked and cuddled and listens to the mother’s voice. It should be practiced for preterm newborn infants who have overcome initial problems and require only to feed and to grow, they said.

Fathers and other family members should also be encouraged to provide Kangaroo care for their babies.This will not only help fathers bond with the babies but also help them understand their baby’s needs and fragile condition better. Since long hospital stay puts a lot physical and financial burden on the family, involving fathers in the care will make them more patient and optimistic when they will themselves notice the gradual improvement in their baby’s condition and steady growth.

The reduction in stress and anxiety of fathers will thus reflect on the wellbeing of the entire family, Dr Vaidya said.

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