Kangaroo (Skin-to-Skin) Care (KC) in Healthy Full Term Neonates: Effect on Pain From Hepatitis B Vaccine Injection

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Midwest Nursing Research Society


With the advent of technology in neonatal care, painful procedures have become common even for healthy fullterm neonates (Johnston et al., 1999). Strong evidence exists that neonates experience and respond to pain. However, neonates are often undertreated pharmacologically, leading to testing of nonpharmacologic methods (e.g., relaxation) for pain reduction. During KC, when mothers hold their diaper-clad infants prone, skin-to-skin, and chest-to-chest, infants stop crying, relax, and become sleepy. Thus KC may promote the kind of relaxation that, according to Benson’s concept of relaxation response (1985), would lessen infant reactivity to painful stimuli. This randomized trial, the first to test the hypothesis that KC will reduce pain from hepatitis B vaccine injections, will be in progress March 2000. Thirty mother-fullterm neonates dyads will be randomized 30 minutes before the injection to KC or standard care (bassinette) groups. KC mothers will hold their neonates in KC until the mothers feel relaxed which is when KC is most effective (Gray, Watt, Blass, 2000). Then mothers will rotate their neonates to the supine position for injection into the anterior thigh. Post-injection, mothers will rotate their neonates prone again for comforting. Heart rate, behavioral state, and crying time will be measured pre-, during, and post-injection.