Credentials of Corresponding Author
Name of Faculty Advisor
Fifteen million infants are born prematurely every year around the world. Parents of preterm infants experience significant anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress during pregnancy, labor, birth, and while infants are hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), leading to poor mental health.
To investigate the effectiveness of parent-guided and audio, tactile, visual, and vestibular (ATVV) interventions to reduce stress in parents of preterm infants who are hospitalized in the NICU.
Literature search via PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycInfo. Keywords included NICU, parent-guided interventions, stress, preterm infant, neonate, baby, and ATVV.
Results of literature search
Ten articles were reviewed. Parent-guided, i.e., kangaroo care, infant massage, relaxation techniques, and music interventions facilitate stress reduction in parents of preterm infants in the NICU. Implementation of ATVV intervention by staff or parents reduces stress in both infants and parents.
Synthesis of evidence
Stress reductions are measured by the Parental Stress Scale, salivary cortisol analysis, self-reporting, thematic analysis of interviews, and a self-administered pre/post Numeric Rating Scale. One study reports no statistical significance in stress reduction
Implications for practice
Reducing stress in parents of preterm infants in the NICU may promote optimal mental health and parent-infant bonding. While preterm infants are the main focus in the NICU, parents and their stress are often overlooked. However, parental stress may negatively impact care coordination and outcomes. Parental stress also negatively affected later parenting. Further research is warranted to comprehensively collect supporting evidence related to the effectiveness of parent-guided ATVV intervention. It is critical to determine the accessibility and feasibility of parent-guided ATVV intervention with consideration for different parental populations, e.g., race/ethnicity, social economic status, non-English speakers, and especially vulnerable parents of preterm infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Rock-a-bye Baby, Soft Voice, Delicate Massage, Loving Gaze, Gentle Rocking Effectiveness of Parent-Guided and ATVV Interventions to Reduce Stress in Parents of Preterm Infants in the NICU