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Arch Pediatr. 2002 Mar;9(3):238-44.

[Use of a polyethylene bag: a way to improve the thermal environment of the premature newborn at the delivery room].

[Article in French]

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Réanimation néonatale, CHI Poissy-St Germain, site de Poissy, 10, rue du Champ-Gaillard, 78300 Poissy, France.



Early interventions, such as occlusive wrapping of very low birth weight infants at delivery reduce postnatal temperature fall. This new intervention was implemented in our hospital on January 2000. The aim of this study was to investigate retrospectively the effect of polyethylene wrap, applied immediately at birth, on thermoregulation.


Matched pair analysis was conducted for 60 infants delivered inborn at less than 33 weeks' gestation and 60 premature infants who were born during the second half of 1999 fulfilling the same criteria. The only difference in the management (medical and environmental) was wrapping with a polyethylene bag in the delivery room. Rectal temperature and other vital parameters were taken, after removal of wraps, on admission to NICU.


The perinatal characteristics of both groups were comparable. Use of wrapping resulted in a significantly higher admission rectal temperature (difference in means = 0.8 degree C, p < 0.0001), this difference was also significant in infants < 30 weeks. The incidence of hypothermia (< 35.5 degrees C) was less frequent in infants enclosed in plastic bags (8.3% vs 55%). No side effects (skin burns, infection or hyperthermia) were attributable to the intervention. The heart rate was higher in the wrapping group (163 +/- 16 vs 150 +/- 17 b/min, p < 0.01), as well as the capillary glycemia (62 +/- 26 vs 45 +/- 30 mg/dl, p < 0.01). There was no significant difference on arterial pressure.


Occlusive wrapping with a polyethylene bag at birth prevented low rectal temperature in premature infants in the immediate postnatal period. This method is easy, practical and effective, and does not interfere with current practice for resuscitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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