The Norwegian Physical Therapy study for Preterm Infants - NOPPI

This study examines the practice and effects of individually customized physical therapy on preterm infants before they reach term age. It investigates the parents' experience of active involvement in the treatment, the value of the parents’ active participation in treatment in short and long term and the effect of early specific intervention on improving the motor development of preterm infants. 

This is a mixed methods study comprising: 

A pragmatic randomized controlled study with 150 infants born ≤ 32 weeks gestational age (GA) who are randomly assigned either to intervention or control group. The intervention includes education of parents in handling and facilitating functional movement activities with their child, and how to adapt the intervention to the infant's behavior and cues. Intervention is carried out up to ten minutes twice a day over a period of three weeks (GA 34-36). Evaluation of the infants’ motor development are measured with standardised tests at infants' ages 0, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months corrected age (CA).

Qualitative studies including eight intervention group triads (infant, parent and physical therapist) and eight control group parents. We conducted qualitative interviews with the parents at infants' age 3, 6, 12 and 24 months CA, to explore the parental experiences with early intervention and how their participation has influenced the parent-child relationship. Eight parents from the control group will also be interviewed at the same points in time, to gather and compare their experiences and their parent-child relationship based on usual care. For the intervention group, we also observed and video recorded two clinical consultations during intervention for description and analysis of the treatment sessions on how they serve promote parental competence. 

International collaboration partners are Professor Emerita Suzann K. Campbell and Clinical Professor Gay L. Girolami at University of Illinois at Chicago.

National collaboration partners are St. Olavs Hospital and NTNU in Trondheim, Rikshopitalet avd Ullevål in Oslo, Universitetssykehuset Nord-Norge i Tromsø. 


Gunn Kristin Øberg (Principal investigator)
Cathrine Labori

Financial/grant information:

The study is registered at, identifier: NCT01089296

Main funding source (Tromsø): The Norwegian Fund for Post-Graduate Training in Physiotherapy. 
Trondheim: UNIMED Innovation Research Fund, The Norwegian Extra-Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation, The National Parent Organization for Prematurity.