Emotional distress in mothers of early-preterm infants, late-preterm infants, and full-term infants in Malawi
Gondwe, K.W.; Brandon, D.; Yang, Q.; Malcom, W.F.; Small, M.J.; Holditch-Davis, D.
Nursing Outlook 68(1): 94-103
Mothers of preterm infants, early or late, report more distress than mothers of full-term infants. Malawi has the highest preterm birth rate in the world, but nothing is known about the relation of preterm birth to maternal mental health. To compare emotional distress among mothers of early-preterm, late-preterm, and full-term infants. We recruited 28 mothers of early-preterm, 29 mothers of late-preterm, and 28 mothers of full-term infants. Emotional distress was assessed 24-72 hr following birth. One-way ANOVA and regression analysis were used to compare the three groups. Mothers of early-preterm infants reported more distress symptoms than mothers of full-term infants, and scores of mothers of late-preterm infants fell between the other two groups. Having a support person present was associated with lower symptoms and caesarean birth was associated with more symptoms. Promoting maternal mental health is important following preterm birth and health care providers need to support mothers.