Infant massage has been identified as one activity that helps parents of preterm infants feel supported.

“The birth of a preterm infant can be an overwhelming experience of guilt, fear and helplessness for parents,” noted an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov. “Provision of interventions to support and engage parents in the care of their infant may improve outcomes for both the parents and the infant.”

The objective of this systematic review was to identify and map out effective interventions for communication with preterm infants’ parents, and to provide them with information and support.

Of the 72 papers identified, 19 papers were randomized controlled trials, 16 were cohort or quasi-experimental studies, and 37 were non-intervention studies.

“Parents report feeling supported through individualized developmental and behavioral care programs, through being taught behavioral assessment scales, and through breastfeeding, kangaroo-care and baby-massage programs,” the abstract noted.

This review was conducted by investigators at the Royal College of Nursing Research Institute, School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom and was published in BMJ Open, an open-access medical journal.

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