Premature infants are at an increased risk for developing cerebral palsy (CP). Evidence-based strategies designed to promote healthy brain development and facilitate adaptation after brain injury in infants still admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) represent a novel approach that may lead to improved long-term outcomes.
To investigate the feasibility of a maternal-administered early intervention bundle in very preterm infants prior to NICU discharge.
A pilot trial evaluating a maternal-administered NICU-based bundle of interventions in preterm infants (≤32 weeks' gestational age and/or ≤1500 g birth weight). The impact of the bundle on short-term developmental outcomes of infants, as well as maternal stress, anxiety, and depression, is evaluated.
The intervention bundle was implemented in 11 mother–infant dyads (including 1 set of twins) for a median of 8 weeks and was overall well received. Vocal soothing, scent exchange, and comforting touch were feasible, performed at or above the predetermined goal of 71% of the time (5/7 days), while kangaroo care and infant massage were not. Maternal stress, anxiety, and depression were decreased during the study time.
Implications to Practice:
A neonatal multimodal intervention bundle provided by mothers is feasible.
Implications to Research:
Additional randomized controlled studies are needed to determine whether this type of bundled interventions can (1) improve the neurodevelopmental outcomes of participating infants and (2) improve long-term parental outcomes, including decreased burden of anxiety and depression, as well as improved attachment and optimal patterns of social interaction.