(HealthDay News) — Kangaroo mother care is associated with improved neonatal outcomes among infants of any birth weight or gestational age, according to a review published in Pediatrics.

Ellen O. Boundy, ScD, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the correlation between kangaroo mother care and neonatal outcomes. Data were included from 124 studies involving infants of any birth weight or gestational age.

The researchers found that kangaroo mother care correlated with 36% lower mortality among low birth weight newborns, compared with conventional care among those newborns who survived to receive kangaroo mother care (relative risk, 0.64). Kangaroo mother care also correlated with reduced risks for neonatal sepsis, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and hospital readmission (relative risks, 0.53, 0.22, 0.12, and 0.42, respectively). 

Kangaroo mother care was associated with increased exclusive breastfeeding (relative risk, 1.50), as well as Dlower mean respiratory rate and pain measures in newborns and with higher oxygen saturation, temperature, and head circumference growth.

“Kangaroo mother care is protective against a wide variety of adverse neonatal outcomes and has not shown evidence of harm,” the researchers wrote. “This safe, low-cost intervention has the potential to prevent many complications associated with preterm birth and may also provide benefits to full-term newborns.”


  1. Boundy EO, Dastjerdi R, Spiegelman D, et al. Kangaroo Mother Care and Neonatal Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Pediatrics. 2016;137(1):e20152238.