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Skin to skin contact with their mothers reduced pain reactions in healthy newborn infants during a heel lance

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QUESTION: Does mother to infant full body contact reduce pain in newborn infants during a heel lance?


Randomised (unclear allocation concealment), blinded (assessors of heart rate and crying), controlled trial.


A medical centre in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


30 healthy, full term, newborn infants (33–55 hours old, 63% girls, mean birth weight 3.3 kg). None of the infants had evidence of congenital abnormalities, medical complications, or drug exposure, and none required oxygen administration or ventilatory support. This was the initial heel lance for all of the infants. Follow up was complete.


15 infants were allocated to skin to skin contact and 15 were allocated to no contact. 15 minutes before the heel lance, all infants had safety electrodes placed on their thoracic region for heart rate monitoring, and a warming pad was wrapped around the assigned foot. Infants in the no contact group were wrapped in their receiving blankets and placed on their sides in their bassinets. Infants in the contact group wore …

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  • Source of funding: National Institutes of Mental Health.

  • For correspondence: Dr L Gray, Division of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, 91 E Concord Street, Maternity 5, Boston, MA 02118, USA. Fax +1 617 414 7915.