Bathing in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) is regarded as a stressful experience for premature infants. Reducing stress is an important challenge in bathing preterm infants. Swaddle bathing can be used as a low-stress and an appropriate bathing method for premature infants. Given the limitations of the researches carried out on this bathing method, the present study was conducted with the aim to determine the effects of swaddled and conventional bathing methods on physiological parameters among the premature infants in NICU.
In this randomized clinical trial study, 50 premature infants who were hospitalized in NICU and were eligible for the study were divided by random allocation into two intervention and control groups. The infants in the intervention group were bathed using the swaddle bathing method, and the infants in the control group were bathed using the conventional bathing method. Heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen saturation were measured 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after the bathing.
The mean heart rate (p = 0.002) and respiration (p <0.001) after bathing were significantly higher in the conventional bathing group than in the swaddle bathing group. Also, the mean blood oxygen saturation after bathing in the conventional bathing group was significantly lower than in the swaddle bathing group (p <0.001).
Given the positive impact of swaddled bathing in reducing physiological stress responses, swaddled bathing can be used as a suitable and safe bathing method in NICU.