Health Library

 

Premature Infant: Signs of Overstimulation

Topic Overview

Premature infants are born before the nervous system is mature enough to handle outside stimuli without becoming overstimulated. Your baby will need to sleep most of the time and will not interact a lot with you at first. But your presence is important to your baby. When you are with your baby, keep your voice low and keep outside noise and light to a minimum.

If your premature infant is overstimulated, you may notice physical reactions in the presence of too much sound, touch, movement, or light, including:

  • A drop in blood oxygen levels (oxygen desaturation).
  • A drop in heart rate (bradycardia).
  • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Looking away from you when you speak or make eye contact, a more subtle sign of overstimulation.
  • Twisting, arching, or scowling.

If you see such signs, give your infant some peace and quiet. The next time you're together, try only one stimulus at a time (such as touch or voice, but not both).

Look for signs that your baby is relaxed and ready to interact with you, such as:

  • Eyes open and engaged.
  • Relaxed face, mouth, fingers, and toes.
  • Normal color.
  • Regular breathing.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kimberly Dow, MD, FRCPC - Neonatology
Last Revised March 22, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

High Quality Care

Guardian of Excellence

Mary Greeley consistently delivers high quality patient care.

  • 2013 Guardian of Excellence Award for Clinical Quality
  • Grade 'A' Patient Safety from the Leapfrog Group
  • 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures ranking from The Joint Commission
  • Highest percentage bonus of any Iowa hospital in Medicare's quality incentive program

Mary Greeley on Facebook

Like us on Facebook

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - yourhealth.mgmc@mgmc.com

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.