NeuroN-QI project

Effects of a Nurturing and Quiet Intervention (NeuroN-QI) on Preterm Infants' Neurodevelopment and Maternal Stress and Anxiety: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Principal Investigator: Dr. Marylin Aita (CHU Sainte-Justine) 

Local PI: Dr. Gabriel Altit (Montreal Children's Hospital). 

Other Collaborators: Gwenaëlle De Clifford Faugère; Dr. Véronique Dorval;  Audrey Larone Juneau; Andréane Lavallée; Sylvie Le May;  Sarah Lippé; Thierry Ducruet; Elissa Remmer; Janet Rennick.

Background: The current state of knowledge reveals that the development of the brain of preterm babies is influenced by specific neonatal experiences during hospitalization, such as environmental sensory stimulation (light and noise), as well as proximity to mothers. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding the benefits that could be associated with the combination of care interventions to improve the health outcomes of preterm infants and their mothers, and in particular the development of the brain of infants during their hospitalization in the neonatal unit. 

The aim of this pilot study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a developmental care intervention including periods of nurturing between mothers and their infant (skin-to-skin contact and auditory stimulation) to promote physical and emotional proximity and a quiet period (controlled light and noise levels and olfactory stimulation in incubators) and to estimate the effect of this intervention on infants’ neurodevelopment as well as on maternal stress and anxiety.


Inclusion: Infants will be eligible if they are born between 26 and 316/7 WGA.

Exclusion: Infants will be excluded if they: a) have birth defects or genetic disorders, b) have an intraventricular hemorrhage >grade II, c) receive analgesics or paralyzing agents. Mothers will be excluded if they: a) are <18 years of age, b) gave birth to multiple, c) have a physical condition that does not allow kangaroo care, d) abuse substances or alcohol, e) chose formula or mixed feeding, f) do not speak, read or write French or English. 

Intervention: Experimental vs Control.

Before and after every intervention, mothers will be asked to fill up a short stress and anxiety questionnaire. This intervention will take place 3 times a week. (Of course mother's are free to do skin to skin as much as they want but only 3/week will be recorded). One video at 36 weeks post-menstrual age of the baby will be videotaped for 30 minutes during a care intervention (i.e. changing diaper, bathing…) in order to assess preterm infants with the APIB (The Assessment of Preterm Infants' Behavior).

Duration: From the moment of recruitment until baby is 36 weeks GA. 

Goal for recruitment: 15 patients.

Research coordinator in charge at the Montreal Children's Hospital: Daniela Villegas Martinez

Journal of Advanced Nursing - 2021 - Aita - Nurturing and quiet intervention NeuroN‐QI on preterm infants .pdf

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