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Immediate maternal thermal response to skin-to-skin care of newborn

Authors

  • A Bergström,

    1. Division of International Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
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  • P Okong,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya, Kampala, Uganda
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  • A-B Ransjö-Arvidson

    1. Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
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Correspondence
Anna Bergström Division of International Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden Tel: +46-70-458 0473 | Fax: + 46-(0)-8-311590 | Email: anna.bergstroem@gmail.com

Abstract

Aim: To elucidate the immediate maternal thermal skin response when placing the neonate on the mothers' chest, skin-to-skin (STS).

Methods: Ugandan mothers with non-asphyxiated newborns after vaginal delivery (n = 39) were studied. Maternal skin and axillary temperatures were measured immediately before STS contact, then every 2 min for 20 min and finally 10 min after removing the neonate. Neonatal axillary/forehead temperatures were measured immediately before STS contact, and twice after initiating STS, followed by a measurement 10 min after the newborn had been removed.

Results: A rapid thermal response was demonstrated in maternal breast skin immediately after STS contact. It rose by 0.5°C (p < 0.0001) on average the first 2 min after STS contact and fell by 0.5°C 10 min after we had removed the neonate (p < 0.0001). Maternal axillary temperature also rose 2 min after initiation of STS (p < 0.0001) but stayed constant 10 min after removal of the newborn from the STS position.

Conclusion: The findings indicate that there is a rapid maternal, thermal response to the positioning of the newborn STS. The tactile contact may elicit a maternal adaptation enhancing the warming of the newborn. Possible mechanisms include maternal autonomic nerve-mediated skin vasodilatation.

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