Globally 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely. Upon birth, a baby must adjust to the external temperature and can often lose heat quite rapidly, particularly in the case of preterm babies who do not have the ability to generate their own heat. Abnormal temperature after birth in newborn babies is associated with an increased risk of death and illness.
Dr Emma Dunne’s research project centers on the prevention of hypothermia in newborn preterm babies. In the womb, babies are cocooned in the warmth within the mother’s body. The overarching aim of Dr Dunne’s research is to identify specific time points after delivery where babies are at increased risk of heat loss. She and her colleagues will use this information to inform a randomized controlled trial in which they will evaluate the efficacy of a simple, cost-effective intervention for reducing the incidence of hypothermia.