This study explored effects of exposure to maternal voice on short-term outcomes in very low birth weight preterm infants cared for within an neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) without an ongoing program of developmental care. Using a comparative design, 53 infants born during their 27th to 28th postmenstrual week were sampled by convenience. Experimental groups were exposed to maternal voice during two developmental time periods. Group 1 listened to a recording of their mothers reciting a rhyme from 28 to 34 postmenstrual weeks. Group 2 waited 4 weeks and heard the recording from 32 to 34 weeks. The control group received routine care. The primary analysis of combined experimental groups compared to the control group revealed that the experimental infants experienced significantly fewer episodes of feeding intolerance and achieved full enteral feeds quicker compared to the control group. Further, in an analysis evaluating all three groups separately, it was noted that Group 1 experienced significantly fewer episodes of feeding intolerance compared to the control group. Study findings warrant further investigation of exposure to maternal voice and the developmental timing at which exposure is begun.
Maternal voice and short-term outcomes in preterm infants