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Together or apart? A behavioural and physiological investigation of sleeping arrangements for twin babies.

Ball, H. L. (2007) 'Together or apart? A behavioural and physiological investigation of sleeping arrangements for twin babies.', Midwifery., 23 (4). pp. 404-412.


Objective the pros and cons of co-bedding for healthy twin babies on the postnatal ward and in the home are issues with which midwives need to be familiar; however, little objective research has been conducted on which to base policies and recommendations. In this two-part study, I explore the behaviour and physiology of twin babies sleeping separately and together. Design, setting and participants in part one, 10 twin baby pairs aged between 1 and 3 months were videoed sleeping together at home in head to head and side by side configurations. In part two, 14 twin pairs under 3 months of age participated in a two-condition trial with behavioural and physiological monitoring while sleeping together and apart in the sleep lab. Findings in part one, sleep variables were unaffected by co-bedding configuration. Babies positioned side by side were observed to occasionally impinge on, but not obstruct, one another's airways, with an arm across the other's face. In part two, no difference was found in their duration of sleep, frequency of waking, core temperature or head covering in the two conditions; co-bedded twins showed synchronous sleep states. Conclusions the co-bedding of term twin babies less than 3 months of age does not seem to be associated with the negative attributes that concern some parents. There may also be advantages of sleep synchrony and ease of care. These results can be used by health professionals in formulating guidance for parents of twins.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Twin infants, Sleeping arrangements, Co-bedding.
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Midwifery. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Midwifery, 23, 4, December 2007, 10.1016/j.midw.2006.07.004.
Record Created:05 Jan 2009
Last Modified:10 Sep 2015 14:31

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