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Colombia

Natalia Varela Pulido, PhD

  • Speaker Type: GOLD Neonatal 2021
  • Country: Colombia
Biography:

Dr. Natalia Varela is a professor at the Externado University of Colombia. She directs the family and children research department. Dr. Natalia´s research experience on child development involved an interdisciplinary approach that enabled her to acquire tools working on an array of projects involving at-risk children and families around the world (Colombia, Canada, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burundi). Having worked with United Nations agencies and international NGOs, Dr. Natalia has gained expertise in academic research, as well as international development. Dr. Natalia works closely with the Kangaroo Foundation in Colombia on interesting research about premature birth and fatherhood. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Laval University in Canada.

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The Importance of Fatherhood: The Kangaroo Father Experience
Over the past decades, researchers have established the importance of the father on child development. Research shows that when fathers are involved, child development is affected. Children show better cognitive skills, fewer aggressive interactions, and better performance in school. Research shows that the earlier the involvement, the better. Nonetheless, when the baby is born premature, this interaction is usually delayed as life is in danger and, the baby is placed in the NICU. Premature birth (≤ 37 weeks of gestation) is a sudden and overwhelming event for the whole family. Parents of premature babies experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Most studies and interventions are focused on babies and mothers, neglecting fathers. The Kangaroo mother care method in which the baby must be placed in skin-to-skin position as long and much as possible has transformed not only the NICU practices but also the involvement of family members (especially fathers) in the care of premature babies. We will explore the experiences and impact of skin to skin contact on fathers in different countries and cultures.
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: