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Effect of massage on behavioural responses of preterm infants in an educational hospital in Iran

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Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of providing massage (tactile and kinesthetic stimulation) on behavioural responses for preterm infants.

Background: These infants have immature central nervous systems. Sleep–wake states during infancy have been shown to reflect severity of disease developments, and the nervous system and brain maturation.

Methods: This study is a quasi-experimental study with before and after design conducted on 45 preterm infants who were admitted in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The subjects received massage 15 min per day for 5 days using field massage technique. Behavioural responses were measured by behavioural state, motor activity and behavioural distress. Data were obtained 10 min before and 10 min after the providing massage period.

Results: An increase was observed in sleep state score after providing massage. And also, the awake, fidgeting and motor activity scores reduced after providing massage. No significant change was seen in the total behavioural distress.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that providing field massage had soothing and calming effect on preterm infants and could be beneficial in nursing intervention. Nurses working in neonatal intensive care unit need to be educated on how to performing the massage on preterm infants.

Abbreviation: NICU: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
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Keywords: Massage; NICU; NICU: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; behavioural responses; preterm infants; sleep–wake states

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health’s Nursing, Razi Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerman, University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran 2: School of Nursing & Midwifery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran 3: Faculty of Nursing, Zarand Islamic Azad University, Zarand, Kerman, Iran 4: Department of Emergency Operation Center (EOC), Disasters and Emergencies Management Center, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Publication date: May 27, 2019

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