To determine the impact of maternal voice exposure on oral feeding in preterm infants.
Prospective, unblinded, 2-center intervention study of infants born 28 0/7–34 6/7 weeks gestation. Infants were exposed twice daily to maternal voice for 20 min before attempting oral feeding. Feedings were divided into groups consisting of Baseline, Intervention, and Follow-up feeds. The study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05181020).
29/37 (78%) mother-infant dyads consented for the study. 25 infants with 2051 feedings were included. Compared to the preceding Baseline, Intervention feeds were associated with an adjusted 7.1 percentage-point increase in oral intake (p = 0.036) and in post-hoc analysis a 71% increased likelihood of having the highest feeding readiness score (p = 0.003).
Exposure to maternal voice prior to enteral feeding is feasible and was associated with significantly improved oral feeding proportions in preterm infants.
Clinical trial registry
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Chhikara, A., Hagadorn, J.I. & Lainwala, S. Effect of maternal voice on proportion of oral feeding in preterm infants. J Perinatol 43, 68–73 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-022-01493-4