The Population Council conducted a formative study in rural Uttar Pradesh, India to assess current newborn bathing practices and the methods adopted to keep the baby warm immediately after birth; explore the beliefs that guide these customs and practices; identify the barriers and facilitating factors in adopting healthy newborn care practices, such as skin-to-skin contact (STSC); and identify programmatic and behavior change communication (BCC) initiatives that could accelerate the adoption of newborn care practices. Barriers included misconceptions about the consequences of bathing a newborn and a lack of awareness among mothers and health workers about STSC. Facilitating factors included contact with health workers and skilled birth assistance, mass media exposure, religious rituals, and a willingness to try STSC. Orienting frontline health workers, promoting delay in bathing newborns, and partnering with local pundits are offered as part of the BCC strategy.
Population Council. 2010. "Increasing the practice of thermal care to prevent newborn hypothermia: Implications for behavior change communication in rural Uttar Pradesh," Shaping Demand and Practices to Improve Family Health Outcomes in Northern India Policy Brief no. 4. New Delhi: Population Council.
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