A COMPARISON OF SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT AND RADIANT HEATERS IN PROMOTING NEONATAL THERMOREGULATION

Authors

  • Judith A. Färdig C.N.M., M.S.N.

    Corresponding author
    1. Judith A. Färdig is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Women's Health Care Specialist program of Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center. She completed the three-year program at Yale University in May 1979 and was awarded a M.S.N. in nurse-midwifery.
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Address correspondence to: Judith A Färdig, 3115 S.W. 12th Avenue, Apt. #308, Portland, Oregon 97201.

ABSTRACT

This prospective study compared standard newborn care under radiant heat with two methods of warming babies that provided immediate parent-infant contact. Fifty-one mother-infant dyads were randomly assigned to three treatment groups. Control group babies had no skin-to-skin contact with their mothers during the study period. One group of experimental infants began skin-to-skin contact after completion of initial nursing care in a radiant heater. The second group of experimental babies had the earliest, most continuous skin-to-skin contact with their mothers and were never under radiant heat. Skin temperatures of all 51 newborns were noted every 3 minutes for 45 minutes using an electronic thermometer. Rectal temperatures were also taken at 21 and 45 minutes after birth. Results supported the hypothesis that body temperatures would be warmest in experimental babies given the earliest skin-to-skin contact, less warm in experimental infants beginning skin-to-skin contact after initial nursing care, and coolest in control babies given no skin-to-skin contact with their mothers (p < 0.001). Significantly more control than experimental newborns had skin and rectal temperatures below the neutral thermal range at 21 and 45 minutes of life. High delivery room temperature and drying babies well immediately after birth did not differ significantly among the three groups, but were found to be positively correlated with neonatal body temperature for the sample as a whole.

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