Saturday, July 02, 2016

Parents' presence at bedside found to decrease neonatal abstinence syndrome severity

Public Release: 30-Apr-2016
Parents' presence at bedside found to decrease neonatal abstinence syndrome severity
New research shows that for babies born with prenatal opioid exposure, more time with parents next to them eased withdrawal symptoms and shortened hospital stays
American Academy of Pediatrics

New research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2016 Meeting suggests a key to easing the opioid withdrawal symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is to ensure parents can spend plenty of time at the baby's bedside during treatment.

NAS is an increasingly common condition infants develop after opioid exposure during pregnancy, with symptoms such as tremors, intense irritability, poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea and poor sleep. It often requires weeks of hospitalization and pharmacologic treatment. The study, "Impact of Parental Presence at the Bedside on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Outcomes," found that newborns whose parents spent more time at their bedside had less severe withdrawal symptoms and shorter hospital stays during treatment for NAS.

Lead author Mary Beth Howard, MD, MSc, of the Boston Children's Hospital/Boston Medical Center Combined Residency Program said previous studies already established strong evidence that non-pharmacologic interventions such as breastfeeding can ease NAS symptoms. But underlying mechanisms related to why breastfeeding helps, she said, are less clear. It is hypothesized that the skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding plays a role, with some prior research showing that having parents "room-in" or share a hospital room with babies undergoing NAS treatment decreases the need for pharmacologic therapy. She said this study supports the idea that a parent's physical closeness has therapeutic effects on babies with NAS.


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