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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2010;30(2):119-28. doi: 10.1179/146532810X12703902516121.

Analgesic effects of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding in procedural pain in healthy term neonates.

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Department of Pediatrics, Sisli Children's Hospital, Istanbul.



The effectiveness of skin-to-skin contact to decrease pain from heel-lancing in healthy term neonates and whether breastfeeding in addition to skin-to-skin contact provided a more effective analgesia than skin-to-skin contact alone were investigated.


A randomised, controlled trial was conducted in 107 neonates undergoing heel-lance. Infants were randomly assigned to three groups: (i) being breastfed with skin-to-skin contact (group 1, n=35), (ii) being held in their mother's arms with skin-to-skin contact but no breastfeeding (group 2, n=36), or (iii) lying on the table before, during and after painful stimulus (group 3, n=36). Physiological responses to pain were measured by heart rate and oxygen saturation changes and behavioural responses were measured by duration of crying and grimacing.


Infants had a mean (SD) birthweight of 3355 (270) g and gestational age of 39.5 (0.6) weeks; at the time of the procedure, mean (SD) postnatal age was 33.1 (5) hours. There was no significant difference between the groups in clinical characteristics and time spent squeezing the heel. Heart rate, oxygen saturation changes and length of crying were significantly reduced in groups 1 and 2 compared with group 3 (p<0.001). No difference was found between group 1 and group 2. Grimacing was less in group 2 than in group 3 (p<0.001).


In healthy term neonates, skin-to-skin contact with the mother and breastfeeding with skin-to-skin contact reduce both physiological and behavioural pain response. Breastfeeding in the 1st 2 postnatal days with skin-to-skin contact did not increase the analgesic effect of skin-to-skin contact alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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