When the mother talks to her baby during a medical procedure, the child’s signs of pain decrease. © Craig Cutler
An UNIGE team shows that the maternal voice reduces signs of pain in premature babies when they undergo life-saving medical interventions.
A baby born prematurely often has to be separated from its parents and placed in an incubator in intensive care. For several weeks, he or she will undergo routine medical procedures that can be painful, without being relieved by too many pharmaceutical painkillers, which are risky for his or her development. So how can we act for the good of the baby? A team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in collaboration with the Parini Hospital in Italy and the University of Valle d’Aosta, observed that when the mother spoke to her baby at the time of the medical intervention, the signs of the baby’s expression of pain decreased and his oxytocin level – the hormone involved in attachment and also linked to stress – increased significantly, which could attest to better pain management. These results, to be read in the journal Scientific Reports, demonstrate the importance of parental presence with premature babies, who are subjected to intense stress from birth, a presence that has a real impact on their well-being and development.
Read the full press release here.