Though there exists a link between skin-on-skin contact with parents, the effect of skin-on-skin contact between preterm twins cobedding on pain response is still poorly understood. A new study in Pediatrics showed that the latter situation showed diminished time to recovery after heel lance, but it did not lower pain reactivity.
The cobedding of preterm twin infants provides various stimulation that may affect pain reactivity. In a randomized trial, researchers studied the effect of cobedding on pain reactivity and recovery in preterm twins. For the study, researchers randomly assigned stable preterm twins to a cobedding group or a standard care group. Pain response was determined by the Premature Infant Pain Profile (or, PIPP), and the time to return to physiologic baseline parameters were compared between groups with adjustment for the non-independence of twin infants.
Twin infants in the cobedding and standard care groups did not bear significantly different maternal and infant characteristics (except for 5-minute Apgar, 7 and postnatal age and corrected gestational age on the day of the heel lance).
The results: Mean PIPP scores weren’t different between groups at 30, 60, or 120 seconds. At 90 seconds, however, mean PIPP scores were higher in the cobedding group (6.0 vs 5.0, P = .04). Recovery time was shorter in the cobedding group compared with the standard care group (mean = 75.6 seconds versus 142.1 seconds, P = .001). There weren’t any significant negative effects from the cobedding, and the adjustment for nonindependence between twins didn’t change the results.
In conclusion, “Cobedding enhanced the physiologic recovery of preterm twins undergoing heel lance, but did not lead to lower pain scores,” said researchers. Still, more research is advised. “Whether a longer exposure to their twin may lead to an improved pain response during subsequent procedures is uncertain and further investigation of such issues is warranted.”
The full study appears in the August issue of Pediatrics.