Neonatology pp 357-363 | Cite as

Environment and Early Developmental Care for Newborns

  • Dominique HaumontEmail author
Reference work entry


Preterm infants are exposed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to an environment of important and often chaotic neurosensory stimulation. There is substantial scientific evidence to support the negative effects of pain and stress, prolonged periods of intense light and noise, sleep disturbances, and difficulties of parenting. It is against this background that early developmental care (EDC) has been proposed. The important elements of early developmental care are parental physical and emotional closeness, fine-tuning of care according to appropriate assessment of the preterm infant behavior, strategies to reduce stress, and a NICU design adapted to provide this type of care.

Among the different strategies of EDC, restoring the mother-infant dyad (couplet care) and the Neonatal Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) are the most complex and holistic interventions.



Active sleep


Early developmental care


Kangaroo mother care


Neonatal intensive care unit


Neonatal individualized developmental care and assessment program


Oxidative stress


Quiet sleep


Rapid eye movement


Very low birth weight


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeonatologySaint – Pierre University HospitalBrusselsBelgium

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