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Kangaroo Care for premies.

The neonatal staff at Children's Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, now offers premies the option of Kangaroo Care: chest-to-chest snuggling with mom or dad often for several hours a day.

In the summer of 1989, Chris Clark, a homebirther and respiratory therapist, faced the prospect of birthing her fourth child prematurely. After her waters broke during her 23rd week of pregnancy, she began reading up on prematurity. The idea of putting her child in "a plastic box, with little human touch, except for things that gave pain" was very disheartening.

She then read an article in Mothering Magazine about Kangaroo Care in Bogota, Colombia [Fall, 1988, No. 49, pp. 64-691. She contacted the researcher who immediately sent her more information. Within days of receiving the reading material, Chris gave birth to Danny - who was 2 pounds, 12 ounces and very ill. He was 11 weeks premature.

Within a few days of her son's birth, Chris was nagging the hospital staff to let her use Kangaroo Care. No way, they said. But she showed them the information and used her own medical knowledge to persuade them to let her give it a try.

Kangaroo Care is now standard practice at Children's Hospital, and the babies are thriving. As of this past summer, three other hospitals in the United States also were promoting Kangaroo Care for premies.

In Colombia, hospitals have been using this method for the past ten years, with high success rate for low birthweight babies. Physicians, nurses, midwives, birth attendants, and parents-to-be may now order a video entitled Mother Kangaroo: A Light of Hope, available (in Spanish and English) for $20 from the US Committee for UNICEF, 333 East 38th St., New York, NY 10016.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:chest-to-chest contact with parent for several hours each day
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Mar 22, 1991
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