Although skin-to-skin contact (or kangaroo mother care, KMC) for preterm infants is a practical alternative to incubator care, no studies have compared these methods using continuous ambulatory temperature monitoring. To compare thermal regulation in low birthweight infants ( &lt 2000 g) managed by KMC alternating with conventional care (CC) and to determine the acceptability to mothers of KMC, an experimental study with a crossover design with observational and qualitative data collected on temperature patterns and mothers attitudes to skin-to-skin care was conducted in the neonatal wards of three hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria. Thirteen eligible infants were nursed by their mothers or surrogates in 38 4-hour sessions of KMC and the results compared with 38 sessions of incubator care. The risk of hypothermia was reduced by &gt90% when nursed by KMC rather than conventional care, relative risk (RR) 0.09 (0.03–0.25). More cases of hyperthermia ( &gt37.5°C) occurred with KMC, and coreperiphery temperature differences were widened, but the risk of hyperthermia &gt37.9°C (RR 1.3, 0.9–1.7) was not significant. Micro-ambient temperatures were higher during KMC, although the average room temperatures during both procedures did not differ significantly. Mothers felt that KMC was safe, and preferred the method to CC because it did not separate them from their infants, although some had problems adjusting to this method of care. Where equipment for thermal regulation is lacking or unreliable, KMC is a preferable method for managing stable low birthweight infants.
Austin, T.; Costello, A.M.deL; Disu, E.; Fabanwo, O.; Ibe, O.E.; Sullivan, K. A comparison of kangaroo mother care and conventional incubator care for thermal regulation of infants 2000 g in Nigeria using continuous ambulatory temperature monitoring. Annals of Tropical Paediatrics (2004) 24 (3) 245-251. [DOI: 10.1179/027249304225019082]