Nav: Home

Skin-to-skin contact do not improve interaction between mother and preterm infant

January 23, 2020

Following a premature birth it is important that the parents and the infant quickly establish a good relationship. Researchers at Linköping University have studied the relationship between mothers and infants who have continuous skin-to-skin contact during the entire period from birth to discharge from the hospital. The results show that continuous skin-to-skin contact does not lead to better interaction between the mother and the infant. The study is published in the scientific journal Advances in Neonatal Care.

Every year some 15 million infants worldwide are born prematurely. Because the infants often require intensive care, it is common that they are separated from their parents, which can negatively affect the attachment between mother and infant.

For the parents, this separation can result in guilt and a sense of emptiness at not being able to be close to their newborn child. For the infant, losing closeness to the parents is one of the largest stress factors in early life. But skin-to-skin care against the parent's chest, instead of care in an incubator, can reduce stress.

"Skin-to-skin contact between parent and infant has proved to have positive effects for the infant's development - but there are no clear results regarding the effect on the interaction between mother and infant. Which is why we wanted to study this", says Charlotte Sahlén Helmer, doctoral student at Linköping University, Sweden.

In the study, the researchers investigated the interaction between mothers and infants born prematurely - between weeks 32 and 36. The study was carried out at two Swedish hospitals, where the parents are able to be with their infant around the clock. Thirty-one families took part. The families were split into two groups: one where the mother was to give the infant continuous SSC from birth until discharge, and one where the mother was to give the infant as much or as little SSC as she wanted to, or was able to.

After four months, the researchers followed up how the mothers interacted with their preterm infants. They found no significant differences in interaction between the continuous and the intermittent skin-to-skin contact groups. As regards the mother's attachment to the infant, the researchers could not see that skin-to-skin contact had any effect in terms of e.g. the mother's acceptance of or sensitivity to the infant. Nor was there a correlation between the number of hours of skin-to-skin contact and the quality of the interaction.

"Some people say that skin-to-skin contact automatically results in good attachment between mother and infant. Our study shows that this may not be the case. It may be a relief for the parents who are not able to keep their infant against their skin around the clock, to know that they can still have good interaction. But these results must be followed up with further studies", says Charlotte Sahlén Helmer.

The study is part of a larger project investigating the effects of skin-to-skin contact in preterm infants.
-end-


Linköping University

Related Infants Articles:

Probiotic may help treat colic in infants
Probiotics -- or 'good bacteria' -- have been used to treat infant colic with varying success.
Deaf infants' gaze behavior more advanced than that of hearing infants
Deaf infants who have been exposed to American Sign Language are better at following an adult's gaze than their hearing peers, supporting the idea that social-cognitive development is sensitive to different kinds of life experiences.
Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).
Young infants with fever may be more likely to develop infections
Infants with a high fever may be at increased risk for infections, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine.
Early term infants less likely to breastfeed
A new, prospective study provides evidence that 'early term' infants (those born at 37-38 weeks) are less likely than full-term infants to be breastfeed within the first hour and at one month after birth.
Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and University of Washington looked at the mechanisms involved in language learning among nine-month-olds, the youngest population known to be studied in relation to on-screen learning.
Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants
Majority of infants with food-induced anaphylaxis present with hives and vomiting, suggesting there is less concern for life-threatening response to early food introduction.
Non-dairy drinks can be dangerous for infants
A brief report published in Acta Paediatrica points to the dangers of replacing breast milk or infant formula with a non-dairy drink before one year of age.
Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason
A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected.
Infants are able to learn abstract rules visually
Three-month-old babies cannot sit up or roll over, yet they are already capable of learning patterns from simply looking at the world around them, according to a recent Northwestern University study published in PLOS One.
More Infants News and Infants Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.