Effect of Timing of the First Bath on a Healthy Newborn's Temperature

Patricia A. Kelly, Kellie A. Classen, Craig G. Crandall, Jeannette T. Crenshaw, Stephanie A. Schaefer, Darlene A. Wade, Matthew N. Cramer, Subhash Aryal, Kelly R. Fossee

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Abstract

Objective: To determine if a healthy newborn's age in hours (3, 6, or 9 hours after birth) affects thermoregulatory status after the first bath as indicated by axillary and skin temperatures. Design: Quasi-experimental, mixed-model (between subjects and within subjects) design with hours of age as the nonrepeated variable and prebath and postbath temperatures as the repeated variables. Setting: Family-centered care unit at an urban hospital in the southwestern United States. Participants: Healthy newborns (N = 75) 37 weeks or more completed gestation. Methods: Mothers chose time of first bath based on available time slots (n = 25 newborns in each age group). Research nurses sponge bathed the newborns in the mothers’ rooms. Axillary temperature, an index of core temperature, was measured with a digital thermometer, and skin temperature, an index of body surface temperature, was measured with a thermography camera. Temperatures were taken before the bath; immediately after the bath; and 5, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after the bath. Immediately after the bath, newborns were placed in skin-to-skin care (SSC) for 60 or more minutes. Results: We found a difference (p =.0372) in axillary temperatures between the 3- and 9-hour age groups, although this difference was not clinically significant (0.18 °F [0.10 °C]). We found no statistically significant differences in skin temperatures among the three age groups. Regardless of age group, axillary and skin temperatures initially decreased and then recovered after the bath. Conclusion: For up to 2 hours postbath, axillary and skin temperatures were not different between healthy newborns bathed at 3, 6, or 9 hours of age. Thermography holds promise for learning about thermoregulation, bathing, and SSC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-619
Number of pages12
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018

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Keywords

  • axillary temperature
  • bathing
  • newborn
  • skin temperature
  • skin-to-skin care
  • thermography
  • thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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