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J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2019 Mar;26(1):116-122. doi: 10.1007/s10880-018-9570-y.

You Can't Take Your Baby Home Yet: A Longitudinal Study of Psychological Symptoms in Mothers of Infants Hospitalized in the NICU.

Author information

1
Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 102, New York, NY, 10027, USA. jl3533@columbia.edu.
2
Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
3
Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 102, New York, NY, 10027, USA.

Abstract

Evidence suggests that mothers of infants hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) experience elevated rates of psychological symptoms. However, previous studies of this population have been mainly cross-sectional and have focused on very preterm infants. Although moderate- to late-preterm infants generally thrive, the possible psychological toll on their mothers has not yet been sufficiently examined. In the current study, we used a longitudinal design to investigate whether mothers of moderate- to late-preterm infants experience elevated rates of psychological symptoms during the infant's hospitalization in the NICU and 6 months later. Results indicated that these mothers did show elevated depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms, and that symptom levels were similar in mothers of moderate- versus late-preterm infants. Mothers of moderate- to late-preterm infants hospitalized in the NICU appeared to experience these symptoms steadily over a 6-month period after giving birth. These findings suggest a need for greater support for these mothers while in the NICU.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Depression; Mothers; NICU; PTSD

PMID:
29789995
DOI:
10.1007/s10880-018-9570-y

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