2011 Volume 223 Issue 2 Pages 97-102
Neonatal jaundice is a common physiological problem affecting over half of all full term and most preterm infants. Thus, newborn infants must be monitored for signs of hyperbilirubinemia to prevent acute bilirubin encephalopathy or kernicterus. Evidence exists supporting the benefits of baby massage as a form of mild hand to skin contact, to increase neonatal physical and mental development. In the present study, the effects of gentle baby massage on neonatal jaundice in full term newborn infants were evaluated by a controlled clinical trial. The inclusion criteria of newborn neonates were as follows: (1) gestational age of 37 ~ 41 weeks, (2) birth weight of 2,800 ~ 3,600 g, (3) Apgar score at birth of 8 ~ 10, and (4) being a healthy neonate without neonatal asphyxia and hemolytic condition. Breastfed newborns without phototherapy were included: 20 in the massage group and 22 in the control group. We found the mean stool frequency of the massaged infants on day 1 and day 2 (4.6 and 4.3) was significantly higher than that of the control group (3.3 and 2.6) (p < 0.05). The transcutaneous bilirubin levels on the second to fifth day and serum total bilirubin levels on fourth day were significantly decreased in the massage group, compared to the control group. In conclusion, baby massage at an early stage after birth could reduce neonatal bilirubin levels. We suggest baby massage is beneficial for ameliorating neonatal jaundice.