Effect of Massage on Weight Gain in Premature Infants

Document Type : Original Article


Isfahan University of Medical Sciences


After the introduction of surfactant, the survival rate of preterm neonates has increased significantly. This issue attracted much attention towards this fragile population. Many studies have demonstrated that massage plays a role in the weight gain of preterm infants. This study compares the effect of massage therapy on infants who were massaged by a nurse or their mother with those who did not receive massage therapy at all.
 This randomized clinical trial was conducted on three groups:(1) The infants  who only received routine care and no massage,(2) Those who received massage by an expert nurse and (3) Those who received massage by their mothers. We recorded daily weight gain, the length of hospital stay and fluid intake of infants. Kruskal Wallis test and SPSS software were used for statistical analysis.
 The gestational age of infants ranged between 28 to 34 weeks. At the end of the fifth day the group massaged by a nurse had significantly more weight gain compared to the other two groups (6.5+1.5 in the nurse group, +4.6 1 in the mother group and +3.7 1.5 in the control group, p-value = 0.001). Those who were massaged by their mothers also gained weight significantly more than the control group (P-value=0.05). There was no significant difference in the length of hospital stay among the understudy groups.
Our study showed that the five-day massage therapy is a safe technique mothers can perform for stable preterm infants to facilitate weight gain in neonate.