Therese Dowswell

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, MI, United States

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Publications (4)17.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mother-infant separation postbirth is common in Western culture. Early skin-to-skin contact (SSC) begins ideally at birth and involves placing the naked baby, head covered with a dry cap and a warm blanket across the back, prone on the mother's bare chest. According to mammalian neuroscience, the intimate contact inherent in this place (habitat) evokes neurobehaviors ensuring fulfillment of basic biological needs. This time may represent a psychophysiologically 'sensitive period' for programming future physiology and behavior. To assess the effects of early SSC on breastfeeding, physiological adaptation, and behavior in healthy mother-newborn dyads. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 November 2011), made personal contact with trialists, and consulted the bibliography on kangaroo mother care (KMC) maintained by Dr. Susan Ludington. Randomized controlled trials comparing early SSC with usual hospital care. We independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information. Thirty-four randomized controlled trials were included involving 2177 participants (mother-infant dyads). Data from more than two trials were available for only eight outcome measures. For primary outcomes, we found a statistically significant positive effect of early SSC on breastfeeding at one to four months postbirth (13 trials; 702 participants) (risk ratio (RR) 1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06 to 1.53, and SSC increased breastfeeding duration (seven trials; 324 participants) (mean difference (MD) 42.55 days, 95% CI -1.69 to 86.79) but the results did not quite reach statistical significance (P = 0.06). Late preterm infants had better cardio-respiratory stability with early SSC (one trial; 31 participants) (MD 2.88, 95% CI 0.53 to 5.23). Blood glucose 75 to 90 minutes following the birth was significantly higher in SSC infants (two trials, 94 infants) (MD 10.56 mg/dL, 95% CI 8.40 to 12.72).The overall methodological quality of trials was mixed, and there was high heterogeneity for some outcomes. Limitations included methodological quality, variations in intervention implementation, and outcomes. The intervention appears to benefit breastfeeding outcomes, and cardio-respiratory stability and decrease infant crying, and has no apparent short- or long-term negative effects. Further investigation is recommended. To facilitate meta-analysis, future research should be done using outcome measures consistent with those in the studies included here. Published reports should clearly indicate if the intervention was SSC with time of initiation and duration and include means, standard deviations and exact probability values.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2012; 5:CD003519. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is extensive evidence of important health risks for infants and mothers related to not breastfeeding. In 2003, the World Health Organization recommended infants be exclusively breastfed until six months of age, with breastfeeding continuing as an important part of the infant's diet till at least two years of age. However, breastfeeding rates in many countries currently do not reflect this recommendation. To assess the effectiveness of support for breastfeeding mothers. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (3 October 2011). Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing extra support for healthy breastfeeding mothers of healthy term babies with usual maternity care. Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Of the 67 studies that we assessed as eligible for inclusion, 52 contributed outcome data to the review (56,451 mother-infant pairs) from 21 countries. All forms of extra support analysed together showed an increase in duration of 'any breastfeeding' (includes partial and exclusive breastfeeding) (risk ratio (RR) for stopping any breastfeeding before six months 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.88 to 0.96). All forms of extra support together also had a positive effect on duration of exclusive breastfeeding (RR at six months 0.86, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.91; RR at four to six weeks 0.74, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.89). Extra support by both lay and professionals had a positive impact on breastfeeding outcomes. Maternal satisfaction was poorly reported. All women should be offered support to breastfeed their babies to increase the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding. Support is likely to be more effective in settings with high initiation rates, so efforts to increase the uptake of breastfeeding should be in place. Support may be offered either by professional or lay/peer supporters, or a combination of both. Strategies that rely mainly on face-to-face support are more likely to succeed. Support that is only offered reactively, in which women are expected to initiate the contact, is unlikely to be effective; women should be offered ongoing visits on a scheduled basis so they can predict that support will be available. Support should be tailored to the needs of the setting and the population group.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2012; 5:CD001141. · 5.70 Impact Factor
  • Oceania Tobacco Control Conference, Darwin, NT, Australia; 10/2009
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco smoking in pregnancy remains one of the few preventable factors associated with complications in pregnancy, low birthweight, preterm birth and has serious long-term health implications for women and babies. Smoking in pregnancy is decreasing in high-income countries and increasing in low- to middle-income countries and is strongly associated with poverty, low educational attainment, poor social support and psychological illness. To assess the effects of smoking cessation interventions during pregnancy on smoking behaviour and perinatal health outcomes. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (June 2008), the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group's Trials Register (June 2008), EMBASE, PsycLIT, and CINAHL (all from January 2003 to June 2008). We contacted trial authors to locate additional unpublished data. Randomised controlled trials where smoking cessation during pregnancy was a primary aim of the intervention. Trials were identified and data extracted by one person and checked by a second. Subgroup analysis was conducted to assess the effect of risk of trial bias, intensity of the intervention and main intervention strategy used. Seventy-two trials are included. Fifty-six randomised controlled trials (over 20,000 pregnant women) and nine cluster-randomised trials (over 5000 pregnant women) provided data on smoking cessation outcomes.There was a significant reduction in smoking in late pregnancy following interventions (risk ratio (RR) 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93 to 0.96), an absolute difference of six in 100 women who stopped smoking during pregnancy. However, there is significant heterogeneity in the combined data (I(2) > 60%). In the trials with the lowest risk of bias, the interventions had less effect (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.94 to 0.99), and lower heterogeneity (I(2) = 36%). Eight trials of smoking relapse prevention (over 1000 women) showed no statistically significant reduction in relapse.Smoking cessation interventions reduced low birthweight (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73 to 0.95) and preterm birth (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.98), and there was a 53.91g (95% CI 10.44 g to 95.38 g) increase in mean birthweight. There were no statistically significant differences in neonatal intensive care unit admissions, very low birthweight, stillbirths, perinatal or neonatal mortality but these analyses had very limited power. Smoking cessation interventions in pregnancy reduce the proportion of women who continue to smoke in late pregnancy, and reduce low birthweight and preterm birth. Smoking cessation interventions in pregnancy need to be implemented in all maternity care settings. Given the difficulty many pregnant women addicted to tobacco have quitting during pregnancy, population-based measures to reduce smoking and social inequalities should be supported.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2009; · 5.70 Impact Factor