"A roller coaster of emotions": a qualitative study of parents very first experiences with their preterm baby

Arnold, Leah, Sawyer, Alexandra, Rabe, Heike, Abbott, Jane, Gyte, Gillian, Duley, Leila and Ayers, Susan (2013) "A roller coaster of emotions": a qualitative study of parents very first experiences with their preterm baby. BMJ Open, 3 (4). pp. 1-7. ISSN 2044-6055

PDF - Published Version
Download (205kB) | Preview


Objectives: To assess parents 19 first experiences of their very preterm babies and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Design: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews.

Participants: 32 mothers and 7 fathers of very preterm babies (<32 weeks gestation).

Setting: Three neonatal units in tertiary care hospitals in South East England.

Results: Five themes were identified. The first describes parents 19 blurred recall of the birth. The second shows the anticipation of seeing and touching their baby for the first time was characterised by contrasting emotions, with some parents feeling scared and others excited about the event. The third theme describes parents 19 first sight and touch of their babies and their 18rollercoaster 19 of emotions during this time. It also highlights the importance of touch to trigger and strengthen the parent 13baby bond. However, some parents were worried that touching or holding the baby might transmit infection or interfere with care. The fourth theme captures parents 19 impressions of NICU and how overwhelming this was particularly for parents who had not toured NICU beforehand or whose first sight of their baby was on NICU. The final theme captures unique experiences of fathers, in particular that many felt excluded and confused about their role.

Conclusions: This study informs family-centred care by providing insight into the experiences of parents of very preterm infants at a time when they are most in need of support. Clinical implications include the importance of offering parents preparatory tours of the NICU and including fathers.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ0250 Premature infants
Depositing User: Katie Isaac
Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 11:06
Last Modified: 24 May 2021 09:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44681

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update