Effects of tactile/kinesthetic stimulation on the clinical course and sleep/wake behavior of preterm neonates


Frank A.Scafidi,Tiffany M. Field,Saul M., Schanberg,Charles R., Bauer, Nitza, Vega-Lahr, Robert Garcia, John Poirier, Gerald Nystrom,Cynthia M.Kuhn


Infant Behavior and Development Volume 9, Issue 1, January–March 1986, Pages 91-105 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016363838690041X


Forty preterm neonates treated in an intensive care nursery (M gestational age= 31 weeks, M birthweight=1274 gms) were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment infants received tactile/kinesthetic stimulation (body massage and passive movements of the limbs) for three 15-min periods during three consecutive hours for a 10-day period. At the end of the treatment period the behavioral states and activity level of the neonates were monitored during sleep/wake behavior observations. In addition, neonatal behaviors were assessed on the Brazelton scale. The treated infants averaged a 47% greater weight gain per day (25 vs. 17 grams), and spent more time awake and active during sleep/wake behavior observations. On the Brazelton scale the treated infants showed more mature orientation, motor, habituation, and range of state behaviors. Finally, the treated infants were discharged 6 days earlier yielding hospital cost savings of $3,000 per infant.