Skin-to-skin contact with the mother is essential to improve preterm infants’ chances of survival and health
The first hug with a parent is not only emotionally important, but also hugely important in improving the chances of survival.
On November 15, as part of a major review of its policy requiring the use of incubators, the World Health Organization announced that skin-to-skin contact plays a key role in improving infant and infant survival.
The new guidelines mark a major shift in the way the United Nations health agency recommends critical care for newborns.
Improving children’s chances of survival
WHO doctor and pediatrician Karen Edmond told reporters in Geneva that allowing mothers or other caregivers to be close to premature babies from the start without separating them increases their chances of survival.
“The first hug with a parent is not only emotionally important, but also critical to improving survival and health outcomes for young and preterm babies,” she said.
The World Health Organization said the new guidelines for handling babies born before 37 weeks gestation or weighing less than 2.5 kilograms apply under all circumstances.
She added that immediate skin-to-skin contact should be provided “even for babies with breathing difficulties,” stressing that “they also need close contact with their mother from birth.”
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