A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between KMC and infant/toddler biopsychosocial outcomes.
PubMed, MEDLINE (OvidSP), MEDLINE in Process (OvidSP), Embase (OvidSP), PsycINFO (OvidSP), and AMED (OvidSP) were searched. Observational studies and randomized control trials through October 2015 that investigated the association between KMC intervention and infant/toddler biopsychosocial outcomes were included. Studies with <10 participants, those using skin-to-skin only during painful procedures or only on the day of birth, and those that did not report quantitative outcomes were excluded. Data were extracted by two coders and estimates were examined using random-effects.
3177 studies were screened with 13 meeting inclusion criteria and representing 5 child outcomes (cognitive, motor, self-regulation, socio-emotional and temperament). Among LBW/premature neonates, KMC compared to conventional care was associated with improved infant self-regulation. Moderated effects were identified for cognitive (duration of KMC) and motor development (duration of KMC, country-level mortality ratio, and infant gender).
KMC administered to vulnerable neonates during a sensitive period of brain development has a lasting impact on self-regulation skills later in infancy. Further research examining the longer-term effect of KMC on cognitive and motor development, socioemotional skills, and temperament is needed.
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