Aim: To determine if clinically stable extremely preterm infants can maintain their temperature during skin-to-skin contact and to screen for other negative effects.
Methods: Continuous measurement of 22 stable infants’ physical parameters 2 h before, during, and 2 h after skin-to-skin-contact. Mean gestational age at birth was 25 weeks and 4 days, mean post-natal age was 8 days, postmenstrual age was 26 weeks and 6 days, and mean actual weight 702 g. Mean duration of skin-to-skin-contact was 98 min. 16 infants were skin-to-skin with the mother, five with the father and one with an older sister.
Results: There were no significant differences in mean skin temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, or oxygen saturation before, during, and after skin-to-skin contact. While staying within normal range, the mean skin temperature increased 0.1°C during skin-to-skin contact with the mother and decreased 0.3°C during skin-to-skin contact with the father (p = 0.011) (without post-hoc correction).
Conclusion: Clinically stable, extremely preterm infants can keep adequate skin temperature and adequate physical stability during skin-to-skin contact with their parents.