Background. The method of skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care [KC]) has shown physiologic, cognitive, and emotional gains for preterm infants; however, KC has not been studied adequately in term newborns.

Aims. To evaluate the effect of KC, used shortly after delivery, on the neurobehavioral responses of the healthy newborn.

Study Design. A randomized, controlled trial using a table of random numbers. After consent, the mothers were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: KC shortly after delivery or a no-treatment standard care (control group).

Subjects. Included were 47 healthy mother-infant pairs. KC began at 15 to 20 minutes after delivery and lasted for 1 hour. Control infants and KC infants were brought to the nursery 15 to 20 and 75 to 80 minutes after birth, respectively.

Results. During a 1-hour-long observation, starting at 4 hours postnatally, the KC infants slept longer, were mostly in a quiet sleep state, exhibited more flexor movements and postures, and showed less extensor movements.

Conclusions. KC seems to influence state organization and motor system modulation of the newborn infant shortly after delivery. The significance of our findings for supportive transition from the womb to the extrauterine environment is discussed. Medical and nursing staff may be well advised to provide this kind of care shortly after birth.

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