Nurturing Brain Development in Preterm Infants: The DANA Foundation
Premature birth puts children at increased risk for many challenges, including behavioral problems, learning difficulties, and autism spectrum disorders. Family Nurture Intervention in the NICU has been shown to decrease these risks.
Premature infants, loosely defined as babies born before 34 weeks gestation, arrive in a state of arrested development. The lungs, the heart, the digestive system, the eyes, the ears—and the brain—may not have reached their full potential when a preemie comes into the world. Lacking proper brain development, premature infants are at elevated risk for problems with learning, communication, emotional regulation, and social bonding. But new research suggests that an intervention that focuses on calm, physical bonding between mother and infant can promote the development, in both the brain and body, that was hindered by early birth, significantly improving long-term outcomes for preemies. Read full article.