Journal of Japan Academy of Midwifery
Online ISSN : 1882-4307
Print ISSN : 0917-6357
ISSN-L : 0917-6357
A feasibility and pilot study of the “Mama's Touch Program” for primiparas involving touching and holding infants using oxytocin and cortisol levels as evaluation indexes
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2018 Volume 32 Issue 1 Pages 60-72



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of the “Mama's Touch Program” on primiparas’ secretion of oxytocin and cortisol as evaluation indexes.


This study compared the oxytocin and cortisol levels of the intervention group, consisting of primiparas who participated in the “Mama's Touch Program” once at 38 weeks and once at 39 weeks of gestation, with the primipara control group. During the 60-minute program the intervention group observed the relationship between the infant and the mother, and then practiced touching the infant such as giving a hug or a touching gesture. For both groups, saliva samples were collected at three time points: before the intervention, 30 minutes after, and 60 minutes after the intervention. Salivary oxytocin level was analyzed using an oxytocin ELISA kit (Enzo Life Sciences, Inc.) Cortisol level was analyzed using the Cortisol Salivary Immunoassay kit (Salimetrics, LLC). We analyzed the: (1) collection of saliva; (2) saliva for oxytocin and cortisol and (3) interactions with infants.


At 38 weeks gestation, seven primiparas participated in the intervention group and six primiparas participated in control group; by the 39 weeks of gestation, five remained in the intervention group and five in the control group. Oxytocin concentrations at 38 weeks and 39 weeks gestation were small and varied widely among participants. Cortisol concentration was reduced from pre to post 30 minute and from post 60 minutes in both groups at 38 and 39 weeks gestation. Among the intervention group at 39 weeks gestation, the pre to post 30 minutes cortisol concentrations were significantly reduced (p=.044). Of the 69 saliva samples (0.5mL-6.0mL), the oxytocin level was measured in 45 (65.2%) in duplicate assay, and the cortisol level could be measured in all the samples in duplicate assay. The interactions with infants were too varied for measurement because of infants’ age and response.


The study was found to be feasible in terms of collection of saliva, analysis of saliva and interaction with infants. A larger full-scale RCT can be conducted, after developing a: (1) protocol for specific interaction with infants, (2) guideline for instructions from mother and (3) mechanism to increase saliva amount.

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© 2018 Japan Academy of Midwifery
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