Co-bedding versus single-bedding premature multiple-gestation infants in incubators

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. May-Jun 2003;32(3):340-7. doi: 10.1177/0884217503253434.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incubators, Infant*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / psychology
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Multiple Birth Offspring*
  • Parents / psychology*