The effect of superficial Tactile-kinesthetic stimulation method on weight gain of low-birth-weight infants

Mehri Golchin, Panteh Rafati, Parvin Taheri, Sogra Nahavandinejad


Introduction: There is a moderate or severe delay in growth and development of low-birth-weight infants. So, they need developmental interventions in addition to intensive medical care. In general, developmental interventions are considered as part of nursing care. One of these interventions is tactile-kinesthetic stimulation, which is tailored to the developmental level and tolerance of each infant. There are various methods to perform tactile-kinesthetic stimulations. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of superficial tactile-kinesthetic stimulation method on weight gain of low-birth-weight infants.

Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study conducted on 54 low-birth-weight infants in hospitals, selected by convenient sampling method. They were assigned to two groups of twenty-seven infants. One of the groups received superficial tactile-kinesthetic stimulation. This group was compared with a control group receiving no stimulations. Criteria for inclusion in the study were birth weight <2500 g, age <18 days, breast-feeding, having Iranian race, absence of congenital heart malformation, pulmonary diseases, neuromuscular disorders, respiratory distress, sepsis, maternal addiction, NPO or intravenous feeding and blood exchange. Data were collected through observations, interviews and measuring weight by special scales of infants weighing (seco) with an accuracy of ±10 grams. Each infant in the treatment group received superficial tactile-kinesthetic stimulation for three 15-minute periods, 30-45 minutes after feeding in the morning, afternoon and evening for 10 consecutive days. Weight of infants was measured three times, in the beginning of the study, 5 days and 10 days later by the same equipment and by the same observer. Student t-test and paired t-test were used to compare weight gains within and between groups.

Results: The two groups did not differ significantly on matched variables. Means of weight gain within groups, before and after of the study were statistically different. Also a significant difference was found between the two groups. The treatment group had significantly higher weight than the control group.

Conclusion: These findings showed that superficial tactile-kinesthetic stimulation enhances weight gain in low-birth-weight infants. The other studies reported similar findings. Thus, this method can decrease mortality and morbidity in low-birth-weight infants.


Superficial massage, tactile- kinesthetic stimulation, low-birth-weight infants, weight gain.


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