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Authors

  1. Chertok, Ilana R. Azulay PhD, RN, IBCLC
  2. McCrone, Susan PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC
  3. Parker, Dennelle MSN, RN, FNP-BC
  4. Leslie, Nan PhD, RN, WHNP

Abstract

Nearly half a million preterm infants are born each year in the United States. Preterm delivery has significant psychosocial implications for mothers, particularly when their baby spends time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The decrease in length of gestation causes mothers to have to parent prematurely, without the less time for emotional preparation than mothers of full-term infants. Parents of NICU infants experience stress related to feelings of helplessness, exclusion and alienation, and lack sufficient knowledge regarding parenting and interacting with their infants in the NICU. There are a number of interventions that nurses can do that help reduce the stress of mothers of infants in the NICU.