PREMM - PReterm Early Maternal Massage
Chief investigators: Andrea Guzzetta (Pisa), Roslyn Boyd (Australia), Paul Colditz (Australia)
Investigators from the SMILE Lab: Ada Bancale, Giulia D'Acunto, Francesca Colombini, Viviana Marchi
A range of early intervention programs aimed at improving the experience of preterm babies in a neonatal nursery has been developed in the past decades. Among these, massage studies have shown positive effects in preterm babies including better weight gain and a reduced length of stay in the neonatal nursery. Infant massage is a form of touch by human hands, consisting of gentle, slow strokes of each body part. It is often combined with other activities such as movements of the arms and legs, talking and eye contact. This research aims to determine the effects of infant massage on brain development, on mother's mental health and on mother infant attachment.
Preterm babies and mothers that take part will be randomly assigned to one of two groups (as by the flip of the coin, completely by chance). The first group of preterm babies will receive the normal care that all preterm babies receive. The second group of preterm babies will receive infant massage performed by their own mother. Mothers will be taught a specific massage program in three teaching sessions, starting from around day 15. Mothers will then be asked to perform two massage sessions per day following the massage program. The massage program will begin after the first lesson and will continue until baby’s due date.
This project aims to explore in a randomised trial the effects of infant massage on preterm babies’ brain development. We also aim to observe the possible benefits of mothers performing the massage strokes on their babies.
Can you help us?
We are looking for 24 preterm babies with a gestational age below 34 weeks, and 10 term babies. Babies in the study will be randomly assigned to one of two types of training.
For futher information, please contact:
Dr Andrea Guzzetta
Child Neuropsychiatrist, Research Coordinator
Ph: 050 886 239
Dr Ada Bancale
Ph: 050 886 239
This study receives funding support from the Italian Ministry of Research (Ricerca Corrente).