Corona crisis: Less cuddling – WHO sees premature babies in danger

Older people have a higher corona risk, which is reflected not least in the staggering of the distribution of vaccines. But the consequences of the pandemic can also be considerable for those people who have only been in the world for a very short time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva is now warning: Strict corona rules in maternity wards can have fatal effects on premature babies. Because of the pandemic, vital physical contact between parents and their babies is being restricted in many countries. The medical benefit of cuddling is far greater than the risk of infection, argues the UN authority in a research report published on Tuesday.

The kangaroo method is usually recommended for premature babies and lightweight newborns, in which the child is placed on the mother’s or father’s bare torso for as many hours a day as possible. In addition, the children should receive breast milk.

According to the WHO, the risk of death for these babies can be reduced by up to 40 percent. A model calculation led by the WHO came to the conclusion that the risk of death from suspending these measures is at least 65 times higher than the risk of children getting a fatal corona infection through contact.

Fathers are less often allowed to have direct contact with the child

An international survey of nurses and doctors shows that the pandemic has led to restrictions, in which two-thirds of 1,120 respondents stated that if the corona test was positive or the status was unclear, they would separate mothers from their babies after birth.

German specialist societies for obstetrics like the WHO speak out against a spatial separation of infected mothers and newborns. WHO expert Ornella Lincetto said at a press conference that fathers in Germany will not be allowed as much time for kangaroo contact during the pandemic. Cuddling not only increases the chances of survival for premature babies, “it also reduces the parents’ corona stress,” she emphasized.

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