Feeding intolerance is one of the leading causes of weight loss in preterm infants. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of abdominal massage on feeding tolerance in preterm infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units in Isfahan, Iran.
Materials and Methods: In this randomized controlled clinical trial, 64 infants who had the inclusion criteria, were selected and randomly assigned to control and intervention groups. They were fed every two hours. The gastric residual volume, the abdominal circumference, the frequency of defecation, and the frequency of vomiting episodes, were measured before the feeding. One hour after the feeding, abdominal massage in the intervention group (massage), was given by a researcher twice a day for 15 minutes in a 5-day period. The control group received typical unit care. In order to analyze the data, the SPSS version 23.0 software and analytical as well as descriptive statistical methods were used.
Results: The abdominal massage affected the preterm infants’ feeding-tolerance criteria and significantly reduced the gastric residual volume, the abdominal circumference, and the frequency of vomiting episodes and significantly increased the frequency of defecation in the intervention group, as compared with the control group (P < 0.05).
Abdominal massage could impact preterm infants’ feeding-tolerance criteria. Based on the above results, it is apparently essential to carry out more in-depth studies in this field.