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MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2001 Jul-Aug;26(4):214-6.

Kangaroo (skin-to-skin) care with a postpartum woman who felt depressed.

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  • 1Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4904, USA.


The mother in this case study had numerous known risk factors for postpartum depression and was in rehabilitation for drug abuse. She was crying at 2 hours postbirth and expressing feelings of sadness as her baby was being unwrapped for her first kangaroo care (KC) experience. Thereafter, during our research protocol, her self-reported depression scores decreased rapidly and had disappeared by 32 hours postbirth. A benefit of KC requiring systematic study is that KC may lessen maternal depression. There is new knowledge that some functions of the maternal HPA axis become dampened during the last trimester of pregnancy as the placenta increases its secretion of corticotrophin-releasing hormone. The sudden loss of the placenta following delivery, accompanied by a suppressed HPA axis, may have an effect on mood during the immediate postpartum period. Perhaps appropriate reactivation of the maternal HPA axis can be triggered following birth by the stimulation inherent in KC, thereby minimizing risk for postpartum depression.

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