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Ten year anniversary of World Prematurity Day

November 17, 2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of global recognition of World Prematurity Day.
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​According to the BC Perinatal Data Registry, approximately 11% of babies in BC are born preterm and require special care. This year’s global theme focuses on the importance of creating partnerships and working together to support the care of premature and low birth weight newborns. 

Perinatal Services BC (PSBC) in partnership with BC Women’s recognise the importance of practicing skin-to-skin in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and through the activities of the Kangaroo Care initiative families across BC will benefit from learning how to safely practice, as well as receive a wrap to support skin-to-skin contact with their newborns. Kangaroo Care is the practice of holding a preterm or low birth weight infant skin-to-skin against a parent’s bare chest. A wrap is often used to secure the baby. Kangaroo Care has three components:

  1. Kangaroo position: the infant is on the mother’s chest, in a strict upright postion between mother’s breasts allowing skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby. This must be provided as soon as possible, progressively, ideally up to 24 hours a day. Every hour counts, and should be practiced for as long as the infant requires and tolerates it.
  2. Kangaroo feeding: infants should be fed mother’s milk every time it is possible. Feeding may be done by breastfeeding or administering expressed milk either orally or by gavage, a tube placed through an infant’s nose to carry breast milk to the stomach.
  3. Early discharge with strict out-patient clinical follow up.

For preterm infants the benefits of Kangaroo Care are incredibly varied and important. Benefits include stabilised heart and breathing rates, temperature regulation, decreased pain and stress, improved quality and duration of sleep, support for breastfeeding and support for brain growth and development. Research demonstrates that children who received Kangaroo Care as an infant have improved cognitive functioning and behavioural and attention measures.

For mothers, Kangaroo Care is shown to decrease the risk of maternal anxiety and depression, improves breast milk supply and rates of breastfeeding exclusivity and duration. For both mothers and partners, the research indicates that Kangaroo Care promotes bonding and attachment, improves parental confidence in their ability to care for their baby, and reduces stress associated with NICU stays. The practice of Kangaroo Care supports love, bonding and feelings of connection between parents and baby. 

BC Women’s and PSBC, in partnership with the regional health authorities of BC, are working to strengthen the practice of Kangaroo Care by increasing awareness and knowledge to health care providers and families.


babies; BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre; NICU; premature
Children's Health; Women's Health
SOURCE: Ten year anniversary of World Prematurity Day ( )
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