Systematic Review of Skin-to-Skin Care for Full-Term, Healthy Newborns

Lisa Cleveland, Catherine M. Hill, Wendi Strauss Pulse, Heather Condo DiCioccio, Tiffany Field, Rosemary White-Traut

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the effect of skin-to-skin mother–infant holding, touch, and/or massage on full-term, healthy newborns and their primary caregivers. Data Sources A seven-member scientific advisory panel searched the databases PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus using the search terms massage, skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo care, touch, therapeutic touch, and full-term newborns for research with human participants published in English with no date parameters. Study Selection The initial search yielded 416 articles. After reviewing titles and retaining only articles that met the review criteria, 280 articles remained. The panel co-chairs reviewed and discussed the abstracts of these articles and retained 90 for review. Data Extraction Each article was assigned to one panel member and one co-chair for review. Members of the panel met via teleconference to present articles and to determine whether they had scientific merit and addressed the research question. Articles that did not meet these standards were eliminated. Forty articles included relevant evidence: 33 articles on skin-to-skin holding and 7 on infant massage. Data Synthesis We created a table that included the purpose, design, and findings of each study. This information was synthesized into a feasibility report by the co-chairs. Conclusion Evidence supports recommendations for skin-to-skin care for all full-term, healthy newborns. Although there is inadequate evidence to recommend massage as standard care for all newborns, massage has been shown to help consolidate sleep patterns and reduce jaundice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-869
Number of pages13
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • bonding
  • breastfeeding
  • infant massage
  • infant touch
  • jaundice
  • maternal attachment
  • newborn growth and development
  • skin-to-skin
  • thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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