Preemies are More Vocal When Parents are Near

November 1, 2011 – Preemies are More Vocal When Parents are Near

A recent study has found that prematurely born babies are more vocal when their parents are near by.

“It’s not known whether the sounds preemies hear soon after birth, and their own ability to vocalize, are related to their later language development. But premature infants who spend their early days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are in a much different sound environment than they would be if still in the womb, said Dr. Melinda Caskey, a pediatrician at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and the lead researcher on the new study…In the womb, mom’s voice is the most prominent sound, Caskey said. In the NICU, the beeps and whirs of medical equipment abound.”

The study found that the babies were more likely to make vocalizations when their parents were visiting them –  Baby sounds sometimes increased up to 129 percent. “When a parent was there, the number of vocalizations went way up,” Caskey said. The babies also showed more “conversational turns” — where their vocalizations came within seconds of the parent speaking. Also, “At week 32, the infants were more vocal when their parents were feeding them, versus when a nurse was. By week 36, that difference disappeared; that might be because by that time, the nurses had formed a relationship with the infants, the researchers speculate.”

To read more about this study, click here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44979462/ns/health-childrens_health/#.T4zzCulSTaQ

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