The mother-child relationship is amazing, it can’t be put into words. It has long been known that newborns recognize their mother’s voice and prefer it.
The voice of the mother works like magic, even in premature babies when they are placed in an incubator in intensive care, suggests new research.
Premature babies are often placed in an incubator. They undergo routine medical procedures that can be painful without too many medicated painkillers facilitating their development. In such cases, the mother’s voice can relieve the pain.
A study by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in collaboration with Parini Hospital in Italy and the University of Valle d’Aosta found that when a mother spoke to a baby during a medical procedure, the baby’s symptoms reduced the expression of pain. It was also found that their oxytocin levels increased significantly, which could indicate better pain management.
The study highlights the importance of parental presence with premature babies. This presence has a real impact on their well-being and development.
The researchers wanted to know the effect of mother-to-premature infant voice contact on the treatment of pain due to routine practices and associated psychological and brain mechanisms in infant follow-up.
Dr. Manuela Filippa, a researcher in Didier Grandjean’s group and the first author of the study, said: “We focused on the mother’s voice in this study because in the first days of life, it is more difficult for the father to be present due to working conditions that don’t always allow for holidays. “
For the study, the researchers followed 20 premature babies at Parini Hospital in Italy. They asked the mother to be present at the daily blood test. The study was conducted in three phases over three days. the first injection was made without the mother, the second mother spoke to the baby, and the third mother sang to the baby. The order of these terms changed randomly.
The researchers noted: “For the study, the mother started talking or singing five minutes before the injection, during the injection, and after the procedure. We also measured the volume of the sound to cover the surrounding noise, as intensive care is often noisy due to ventilation and other medical devices. “
The researchers used the Pain Profile of Premature Babies (PIPP) to determine if the presence of the mother reduced the pain in the babies, and the researchers used the Pain Profile of Premature Babies (PIPP). PIPP creates a coding box 0-21 for facial expressions and physiological parameters (heart rate, oxidation) that indicate the baby’s painful feelings.
Didier Grandjean said: “To code the behavior of premature babies, we photographed each blood test and evaluated the videos as blind by trained staff without sound so we didn’t know if the mother was present or not.”
“The results are significant: the PIPP is 4.5 when the mother is away, and counts to three when the mother talks to her baby. When mom sings, PIPP is 3.8. This difference with speech can be explained by the fact that the mother adapts her voice intonation less to what she notices in her baby while singing because she is in a way limited by the melodic structure, which is not the case in speech. “
Dr. Manuela Filippa said: “Then we looked at what changes are happening in the baby when it hears its mother talking. We quickly switched to oxytocin, a so-called attachment hormone that has already been linked to stress, detachment from attachment figures, and pain in previous studies. “
“Using a painless saliva sample before the mother spoke or sang and after a heel sting, we found that oxytocin levels rose from 0.8 picograms per milliliter to 1.4 when the mother spoke. For oxytocin, this is a significant increase. “
Manuela Filippa emphasizes: “Here we show the importance of bringing parents and the child together, especially in the sensitive context of intensive care.”
Didier Grandjean said: “In addition, parents have a protective role here and they can act and feel involved in helping their child as well as possible, which reinforces essential attachment relationships that are taken for granted in full-time childbirth.”
With the mother tearing the ankle
To test this hypothesis, the scientists followed 20 premature babies at the Parini Hospital in Italy and asked the mother to be present during the daily blood test, which was performed by extracting a few drops of blood from the heel. “We have focused this study on the voice of motherhood, because it is more difficult for a father to be present in the first days of life, due to work conditions that do not always give him leave,” said researcher Dr Manuella Filippa. Didier is the first author of Grandjin’s group and research.
The study was conducted in three stages over three days, allowing for comparisons: the first injection was taken without the mother present, the second with the baby talking and the third with the mother singing with the baby. The order of these conditions has changed randomly. “For the study, the mother started talking or singing five minutes before the injection, during and after the injection,” said the Geneva researcher. We also measured the intensity of the voice, so that it covers the surrounding sound, because intensive care is often noisy due to ventilation and other medical devices.
Symptoms of pain are significantly reduced
First, the research team observed whether the baby’s pain decreased in the presence of the mother. To do this, they used the Preterm Infant Pain Profile (PIPP), which established a coding grid between 0 and 21 for facial expressions and physiological parameters (heartbeat, oxygenation) to confirm the authenticity of the child’s painful sensations. “To code for the behavior of premature babies, we tested each blood and judged the” blind “videos by trained staff to determine if the mother was present,” Didier Grandzian noted.
The results are significant: PIPP is 4.5 when the mother is absent and drops to 3 when the mother talks to her baby. “When mom sings, PIPP is 3.8. This difference with the spoken voice can be explained by the fact that the mother adapts her voice less than what is understood in her child, because she is limited by the harmonious structure, which never happens, ”emphasizes the Geneva professor.
The maternal voice induces an increase in oxytocin
Scientists then see what changes in the baby after listening to his mother. “We rapidly linked oxytocin, the so-called attachment hormone, which has already been linked in previous studies to stress, attachment statistics, and isolation from pain,” said Dr. Manuel Phi explained
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