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Behaviors of Very Preterm Neonates as Documented Using NIDCAP Observations

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the range and frequency of behaviors in neonates 24–30 weeks postconceptional age (PCA) using the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care Assessment Program (NIDCAP).

Design: A prospective design with convenience sampling was used.

Sample: Starting 24–72 hours postnatally and continuing through 30 weeks PCA, 8,144 two-minute observations of 85 NIDCAP behaviors were collected and analyzed from 42 neonates born at 24–29 weeks gestation.

Main Outcome Variable: The main outcome variables were the frequencies of the 85 neonatal behaviors measured by the NIDCAP. Frequencies were organized first by subsystem (autonomic, motor, or state) and were categorized further based on week of PCA. Comparisons of behavioral frequencies by number of weeks PCA were completed using correlation and regression analyses.

Results: The most frequently observed behaviors were irregular respirations, pink color, postured flexion of the extremities, immature light sleep, and drowsiness. Least frequently observed behaviors consisted of burps, bowel movement, grunting, smooth motor movements, cooing, and speech movement. Regression analysis illustrated that the pattern of behavior was significantly similar week to week.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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