University of Iowa Study Examines Ways to Help Mothers of Premature Babies

Dr. Segre

Dr. Segre

Many mothers who give birth to premature infants are unable to bond with their babies as the infants are being taken care of in neonatal intensive care units where the mother can have only limited contact with their child. Lisa Segre, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Iowa who holds a Ph.D. in clinical community psychology from the University of Illinois, states, “Having a prematurely born baby is like a nightmare for the mother. You’re expecting to have a healthy baby, and suddenly you’re left wondering whether he or she is going to live.”

In a new study, researchers at the University of Iowa found that mothers of premature babies who participated in one-on-one counseling sessions with neonatal intensive care nurses had lower levels of anxiety and depression symptoms and higher self-esteem. The study, which was published in the Journal of Perinatology, found that neonatal nurses, rather than mental health professionals, may be a better alternative to help mothers of premature babies through the difficult days following birth.

Co-author Rebecca Siewert, a nurse practitioner who counseled the mothers of preterm babies in the study, stated, “The mothers wanted to tell their birth stories. They wanted someone to understand what it felt like for their babies to be whisked away from them. Listening is what nurses have done their whole career. We just need the time to do it.”

Filed Under: Research/Study


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