Document Type


Associated Faculty

Dr. Valerie Herbert

Sponsoring Academic Department

School of Nursing

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

A literature search was conducted on the effects of skin to skin contact on newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). In the United States, research has shown that typically the first intervention for NAS newborns is immediate pharmacological treatment, but new research poses that non-pharmacological interventions such as skin to skin contact, or kangaroo care, benefit the newborn greatly without exposing them to additional opiates or other addictive substances. The literature search implemented on CINAHL and Nursing Reference Center Plus was performed using the following search terms: neonat*, skin to skin*, babywear*, kangaroo car*, neonatal abstinence syndrome*, NAS*, and in utero substance expos*. Articles that did not directly discuss the use of skin to skin contact on newborns with NAS and skin to skin contact not related to newborns with NAS were excluded. The limitations of this review were the many variations of how skin to skin contact is implemented and when. A total of 10 articles met inclusion criteria. The literature indicates that skin to skin contact directly benefits newborns by decreasing their withdrawal symptoms when used as an intervention. Based on these findings there is strong support for the integration of skin to skin contact on newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome as the priority non-pharmacological intervention in practice post-partum. Evidence indicates that the skin to skin intervention should be universally implemented in the NAS newborn plan of care.


pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)