Objective: Our objective was to determine the tolerance to kangaroo care in the delivery room.
Patients and methods: We have studied 651 normal full term newborn infants delivered in our hospital during an 8 month period. Immediately after birth, the newborn infants were dried and placed in skin-to-skin contact between their mother's breasts. They remained in kangaroo care in the delivery room, during transportation to the post-partum area and in their room as long as two hours. The kangaroo care duration, the infant's post-kangaroo care axillary temperature, the mother's and infant's attitudes and the type of newborn feeding were recorded.
Results: Of the patients studied, 533 (82%) were put in skin-to-skin contact and the kangaroo care lasted 49 +/- 23 min (mean +/- SD). Eighty-percent of the mothers had decided previously to breastfeed their child. The post-kangaroo care axillary temperature was > or = 36 degrees C in 96% of the newborns and it was proportional to the kangaroo care duration (r = 0.31, p < 0.0001; IC 95%; beta = 0.0038-0.0068). During kangaroo care, most of the mothers looked at their child and were happy, although 21% felt tired. Almost all infants (98.5%) stayed awake. The newborn infants who spontaneously did the first breastfeeding during the skin-to-skin contact remained more time in kangaroo care (60 +/- 22 vs 36 +/- 17 minutes; p < 0.0001). If the infant remained more than 50 minutes in kangaroo care, he had nearly 8 times more probability of breastfeeding spontaneously (odds ratio = 7.73; IC 95%: OR = 4.02-15.1).
Conclusions: We recommend kangaroo care in the delivery room as a safe and well tolerated method for mothers and newborn infants which contributes to their well-being. In order to improve breastfeeding and the newborn's temperature, we recommend that the infant remains more than 50 minutes in kangaroo care.