June 24, 2024 2 min read

It is of course a myth that infants in tropical settings can’t get ‘too cold.’  Hypothermia is the state of an infant who has lost heat faster than the ability to produce heat.  The condition is divided into mild, moderate and severe. 

  • mild (36°C-36.4°C)
  • moderate (32°C-35.9°C) and
  • severe hypothermia (<32°C) 

The clinical outcomes of hypothermia include: neurological complications, hyperbilirubinemia, clotting disorders and even death.  In short, it is a very serious condition which must be addressed in all settings, including (and especially during) transport. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a "warm chain" of procedures to reduce the risk of hypothermia in newborns. The chain is a series of steps that should be taken at birth and during the first few hours and days after birth to minimize heat loss. If any step is not followed, the chain is broken and the baby may become cold or hypothermic.

  1. warm delivery rooms with temperatures between 25°C to 28°C at the birthplace;
  2. immediate drying before the delivery of the placenta using pre-warmed towels;
  3. skin to skin contact (SSC) for mother and baby that is among principles of kangaroo mother care (KMC);
  4. early breastfeeding (within one hour) or at least on the first day of life;
  5. delayed weighing and bathing for at least 6 hours and 24 hours respectively;
  6. appropriate clothing and bedding (with at least 3 layers of dry and absorbent material);
  7. rooming-in by keeping mother and baby together;
  8. warm transport- use of warm wrap, external heat source and skin to skin contact;
  9. warm resuscitation (using appropriate appliances during resuscitation) and
  10. Continued thermal care training for parents, caretakers and health workers

The DreamWarmerTM is an infant warming mattress that uses boiling water as the agent for heating meaning that it can be used off the grid. A purpose-built thermos with a timer is used to heat the phase change mattress to the right temperature.  A special timer built into the top of the thermos ensures that the mattress stays in for the exact amount of time needed.

The warming mattress (made up of strips of phase change material) can stay warm for 6 or more hours.  It is a flexible mattress that can be used in conjunction with skin to skin contact or with Kangaroo Mother Care.

Contact the Maternova Team for more information on this innovation.

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