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Acta Paediatr. 2007 Nov;96(11):1611-6.

Parental experiences during the first period at the neonatal unit after two developmental care interventions.

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Department of Pediatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.



Developmental care has gained increased attention in the individualized care for preterm infants. This study was designed to explore the effect of a basic form of developmental care and the more extended Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) on parental stress, confidence and perceived nursing support.


Two consecutive randomized controlled trials (RCT's) comparing (1) standard care versus basic developmental care (standardized nests and incubator covers) (n = 133) and (2) basic developmental care versus NIDCAP, including behavioural observations (n = 150). Parents of infants born <32 weeks gestational age (GA) received questionnaires after the first week of admission in the neonatal unit and on average these 2 weeks after the birth of their infant.


No significant differences were found in confidence, perceived nursing support or parental stress. The difference in parental stress between mother and father was less in the NIDCAP intervention group (p = .03), although not significant.


Both basic developmental care and NIDCAP had little effect on parental experiences during the first period at the neonatal unit. As a result of increased paternal stress, the NIDCAP intervention tended to decrease the difference in parental stress levels of fathers and mothers, possibly because of the increased involvement of father during the NIDCAP intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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