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To Bathe or Not to Bathe: The Neonatal Question

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After delivery, newborns go through a series of physiologic changes in an effort to adapt to extrauterine life, with preterm newborns more likely to experience medical problems following this transition. Neonatal hypothermia, defined as a temperature <36.5°C, is a major contributor to neonatal mortality and morbidity. Early bathing may be a contributing factor to hypothermia and interfere with the premature neonate's ability to safely adapt to an extrauterine environment. Skin physiology, the physiologic changes that result from bathing, the importance of maintaining vernix for temperature stability, and how policy change and education-based programs for developmentally supportive care will be discussed in an attempt to improve patient care outcomes for neonates in the NICU.
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Keywords: HYPOTHERMIA; RESPIRATORY DISTRESS; STRATUM CORNEUM; VERNIX

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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