Massage effects on cocaine-exposed preterm neonates

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1993 Oct;14(5):318-22.


Thirty preterm cocaine-exposed preterm neonates (mean gestational age 30 wks, mean birth weight = 1212 g, mean intensive care unit duration = 18 days) were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a control group as soon as they were considered medically stable. Group assignment was based on a random stratification of gestational age, birth weight, intensive care unit duration, and entry weight into the study. The treatment group (N = 15) received massages for three 15-minute periods 3 consecutive hours for a 10-day period. Findings suggested that the massaged infants (1) averaged 28% greater weight gain per day (33 vs 26 g) although the groups did not differ in intake (calories or volume), (2) showed significantly fewer postnatal complications and stress behaviors than did control infants, and (3) demonstrated more mature motor behaviors on the Brazelton examination at the end of the 10-day study period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Weight Gain


  • Cocaine