Maternal recall of the neonatal intensive care unit

Neonatal Netw. 1997 Jun;16(4):33-40.


This study examined how mothers of prematurely born three-year-old children retrospectively recall their responses to their infant's hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Forty-four mothers of three-year-old prematurely born children were interviewed as part of a longitudinal study. Data from maternal interviews were analyzed using the analytic inductive method. Findings support the hypotheses that were based on the Parental Stress in the ICU model. Three years after the birth of their premature infants, mothers reported vivid memories of stress related to the appearance and behavior of their infants, the pain and procedures the infants endured, alterations in their role as parents, and stress related to the infant's illness severity and uncertainty about infant outcomes. Prenatal problems, such as high-risk pregnancy or birth, infant loss, and disturbances in family support, were also recalled as sources of stress. Findings have implications for family-centered nursing care in NICUs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires