Objective: To compare the physiological stability and behavioral effects of co-bedding with those of single-bedding premature multiple-gestation infants in incubators as well as the psychological effects on their parents.
Design: Prospective, randomized, repeated measure.
Participants: Convenience sample of 16 infants and 8 parents in the co-bedded group, and 21 infants and 11 parents in the control group.
Interventions: Infants in the study group were co-bedded in incubators.
Main outcome measures: Baseline and posttesting for parental state anxiety, maternal attachment, and parental satisfaction measures; infant sleep-wake synchronicity; physiological measures; and stress cue measures during baseline and activity.
Main results: Repeated measures 5 (time) x 2 (group) analysis of variance found significant differences in infant daily weight, feeding amount, and high-activity heart rate. There was no difference in parental state anxiety, maternal attachment, and parental satisfaction scores by group, except for higher baseline parental satisfaction scores in the co-bedded group.
Conclusions: This research demonstrated the safety of co-bedding multiple-gestation infants in incubators but did not find any significant clinical improvement in infant or parental outcomes with co-bedding. Neonatal intensive-care unit providers should educate staff and parents about the potential benefits of co-bedding and consider developing policies and procedures for co-bedding in both incubators and cribs. Co-bedding of multiple-gestation infants may be provided as an adjunctive developmental care strategy if parents desire this intervention.