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Unexpected behavioural consequences of preterm newborns' clothing.

Abstract : Restrictions of preterm newborns' movements could have consequences ranging from stress enhancement to impairment of their motor development. Therefore, ability to freely express motor activities appears crucial for their behavioural and physiological development. Our aim was to evaluate behavioural issues of two types of clothing used in NICU. We observed 18 healthy 34-37 post-conception week-old preterm newborns, during resting periods, when they were undisturbed by any interventions. Newborns wore either light clothing (bodysuit and a light wrapping) or heavy clothing (pyjamas, cardigan and sleep-sack). The percentages of time each subject spent in different postures were compared between clothing situations. Arm and hand postures differed in relation to clothing: babies bent their arms more and held their hands nearer their heads when in bodysuits than when in sleepwear. Consequently, babies in bodysuits spent more time touching their body or their environment whereas the others generally were touching nothing. Self-touch is an important way to comfort one's self. Heavy clothing may impair self-soothing behaviours of preterm newborn babies that already lack other forms of contact. Results suggest that more attention should be paid to apparently routine and marginal decisions such as choice of clothes.
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Virginie Durier, Séverine Henry, Emmanuelle Martin, Nicolas Dollion, Martine Hausberger, et al.. Unexpected behavioural consequences of preterm newborns' clothing.. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2015, 5, pp.9177. ⟨10.1038/srep09177⟩. ⟨hal-01134430⟩

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