Forty preterm infants (M gestational age = 30 weeks; M birth weight = 1176 gms; M duration ICU care = 14 days) were assigned to treatment and control groups once they were considered medically stable. Assignments were based on a random stratification of gestational age, birth weight, intensive care duration, and study entrance weight. The treatment infants (n = 20) received tactile/kinesthetic stimulation for three 15-min periods during 3 consecutive hours per day for a 10-day period. Sleep/wake behavior was monitored and Brazelton assessments were performed at the beginning and at the end of the treatment period. The treated infants averaged a 21% greater weight gain per day (34 vs. 28 gms) and were discharged 5 days earlier. No significant differences were demonstrated in sleep/wake states and activity level between the groups. The treated infants' performance was superior on the habituation cluster items of the Brazelton scale. Finally, the treatment infants were more active during the stimulation sessions than during the nonstimulation observation sessions (particularly during the tactile segments of the sessions). Although these data confirm the positive effects of tactile/kinesthetic stimulation, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown.
- preterm infants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology