Cobedding of preterm twin infants provides tactile, olfactory, and auditory stimulation and may affect pain reactivity. We carried out a randomized trial to assess the effect of cobedding on pain reactivity and recovery in preterm twin neonates.
Stable preterm twins (n = 67 sets) between 28 and 36 weeks of gestational age were randomly assigned to a cobedding group (cared for in the same incubator or crib) or a standard care group (cared for in separate incubators or cribs). Pain response (determined by the Premature Infant Pain Profile [PIPP]) and time to return to physiologic baseline parameters were compared between groups with adjustment for the nonindependence of twin infants.
Maternal and infant characteristics were not significantly different between twin infants in the cobedding and standard care groups except for 5-minute Apgar <7 and postnatal age and corrected gestational age on the day of the heel lance. Mean PIPP scores were not different between groups at 30, 60, or 120 seconds. At 90 seconds, mean PIPP scores were higher in the cobedding group (6.0 vs 5.0, P = .04). Recovery time was shorter in the cobedding group compared with the standard care group, (mean = 75.6 seconds versus 142.1 seconds, P = .001). No significant adverse events were associated with cobedding. Adjustment for nonindependence between twins and differences in baseline characteristics did not change the results.
Cobedding enhanced the physiologic recovery of preterm twins undergoing heel lance, but did not lead to lower pain scores.