Stress and feelings in mothers and fathers in NICU: identifying risk factors for early interventions.Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2019 06 07; 20:e81.PH
The aims of this study were to explore parents' stress levels and negative feelings after premature births and to identify the risk factors related to parents' stress and negative feelings during their children's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay.
Preterm birth is a multi-problematic event that may put the babies in danger for both their medical and neurophysiological conditions and could have a negative impact on both the mother-father relationship and the parent-child interactions.
The study involved 43 mothers and 38 fathers of preterm infants. All participants filled out the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Profile of Mood States.
The results revealed significant differences between mothers' and fathers' responses to preterm births in terms of both stress and negative feelings. We found that, for mothers, their own young age and the baby's need for respiratory support were significant predictors of stress; for fathers, their own young age and the baby's lower gestational age and worse condition at birth were significant predictors of stress and negative feelings. The NICU may be a stressful place both for mothers and fathers. Identifying which mothers and fathers are at risk immediately after their children are born could help to direct specific interventions that can reduce these parents' stress and prevent them from negative feelings.