Early interventions involving parents to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes of premature infants: a meta-analysis

J Perinatol. 2009 May;29(5):343-51. doi: 10.1038/jp.2008.229. Epub 2009 Jan 15.


Objective: To determine in a systematic review, whether interventions for infant development that involve parents, improve neurodevelopment at 12 months corrected age or older.

Study design: Randomized trials were identified where an infant intervention was aimed to improve development and involved parents of preterms; and long-term neurodevelopment using standardized tests at 12 months (or longer) was reported.

Result: Identified studies (n=25) used a variety of interventions including parent education, infant stimulation, home visits or individualized developmental care. Meta-analysis at 12 months (N=2198 infants) found significantly higher mental (N=2198) and physical (N=1319) performance scores favoring the intervention group. At 24 months, the mental (N=1490) performance scores were improved, but physical (N=1025) performance scores were not statistically significant. The improvement in neurodevelopmental outcome was not sustained at 36 months (N=961) and 5 years (N=1017).

Conclusion: Positive clinically meaningful effects (>5 points) are seen to an age of 36 months, but are no longer present at 5 years.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Developmental Disabilities / prevention & control*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy*
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / physiology
  • Infant Care / methods
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology
  • Intellectual Disability / prevention & control*
  • Intellectual Disability / therapy
  • Male
  • Neurology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome