Effect of a Maternal Simulated Intervention on Physiologic and Developmental Behaviors of 28-34 Week Gestation Infants in a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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Problem: Complications of preterm delivery are associated with numerous developmental abnormalities that may impact the overall quality of life of the infant. The literature supports the use of many developmental interventions for premature infants convalescing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Interventions have been shown to be beneficial to premature infants by helping to increase weight gain, shortened hospital stay, and improve bonding (Dodd, 2005). A number of devices that support developmental positioning of premature infants are currently in use in many NICU's. However, few of these support devices have been explored to determine the benefits for the infant. The purpose of this study was to explore a maternal simulated intervention on physiologic and developmental behaviors of 28-34 week gestation infants in a Level III NICU.

Method: Using a quasi-experimental design, a sample of 45 infants was randomized into four groups to explore differences over time when developmentally appropriate interventions were applied. Differences in pain scores, episodes of apnea/bradycardia, vital signs, and occurrences of self-regulatory and stress behaviors were observed.

Results: Infants receiving the maternal simulated intervention had fewer episodes of apnea/bradycardia (p<0.05). The odds of observing stress behaviors over time were higher for the standard of care than the odds for the simulated intervention (OR = 10.5, p<0.05).

Conclusion: The simulated intervention used in this study suggests an efficacious method to reduce adverse physiologic and developmental behaviors of 28-34 week gestation infants in a Level III NICU which has the potential to provide tremendous public health benefit.


American Public Health Association Annual Conference (APHA)


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