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Nurs Clin North Am. 1996 Jun;31(2):341-50.

Family response to the low birth weight infant.

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  • 1Health Care of Women and Childbearing Families Division, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


Families of VLBW and LBW preterm infants are usually happy to have a new baby in the family, although they are anxious, depressed, and concerned about their infant's future health and well-being. During the first year of the infant's life, families of LBW and VLBW infants face many new challenges. They have infants with unique health-care needs who are often temperamentally difficult and who benefit enormously from excellent parenting. Preterm LBW and VLBW infants are often born to families who are poor and to mothers who are young. Families of VLBW and LBW preterm infants experience decreased employment possibilities at a time when they also have increased expenses. Families of LBW and VLBW preterm infants undergo a vulnerable period during which they may benefit greatly from receiving care from nurses who understand their needs.

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