Saturday, 21 January 2012 12:17

Training Preemie Parents

Recent research conducted in Norway has found that helping preemie parents better understand and interact with their babies may improve behavioral outcomes at school-age. This is an important finding as children born preterm are at greater risk for behavioral difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Preemies, particularly those who have been in intensive care units have been described as being more “difficult” and score less favorably in mood, adaptability, persistence, rhythmicity and distractibility than full term infants in standardized measures of temperament. Parents of preemies report that their babies are harder to understand, which can make it more challenging to successfully interact with them.

Researchers at the University Hospital of North Norway recruited 146 preemies born less than 2,000 grams (4 pounds, 6 ounces) who then either participated in a training program or undertook standard care only. Seventy-five full term infants were also recruited to be used as a baseline comparison. The intervention consisted of 8 sessions shortly before discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 4 home visits by specially trained nurses focusing on the infant's unique characteristics, temperament, and developmental potential and the interaction between the infant and the parents. A follow-up of these babies at age 5 years found that preemies whose parents received the training had fewer behavior problems, such as inattention, aggression, or withdrawn behaviour. A key point of this study is that teaching parents skills from the beginning of their baby’s life is important and particularly so for parents of preemies.

Published in Industry News

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 


Read More: Defining Preterm birth


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