HealthDay News — For infants with a birth weight of 1.0 kg to 1.799 kg, receiving immediate kangaroo mother care reduces mortality at 28 days, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Sugandha Arya, MD, from the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial in 5 low-resource hospitals involving infants with a birth weight between 1.0 kg and 1.799 kg. Participants were randomly assigned to receive immediate kangaroo mother care (intervention; 1,609 infants) or conventional care in an incubator or a radiant warmer until their condition stabilized followed by kangaroo mother care (control; 1,602 infants).

The median daily duration of skin-to-skin contact in the neonatal intensive care unit was 16.9 and 1.5 hours in the intervention and control groups, respectively. Neonatal death occurred in the first 28 days in 12% and 15.7% of infants in the intervention and control groups, respectively (relative risk of death, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.64 to 0.89; P =.001); neonatal death in the first 72 hours occurred in 4.6% and 5.8%, respectively (relative risk, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.58 to 1.04; P =.09). On the recommendation of the data and safety monitoring board, the trial was stopped early due to the finding of reduced mortality.

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“Keeping the mother and baby together right from birth, with zero separation, will revolutionize the way neonatal intensive care is practiced for babies born early or small,” said a coauthor of the study.

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