Mother’s mental health and the interaction with her moderate preterm baby in the NICU

Andrea Mira, Soledad Coo, Rodolfo Bastías

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Moderate preterm infants, born between 320/7 and 336/7 weeks, represent a significant number of preterm-born infants; however, they remain a poorly studied group despite their vulnerability. The objective of this correlational study is to describe the impact of having a moderate preterm infant hospitalised in the NICU on the mothers’ mental health and how this relates to the interaction between the dyad. Method: During the hospitalisation period, 85 moderate preterm mother-infant dyads participated in this study. The participants provided self-reports of depression, parental stress, and skin to skin and breastfeeding practices. Also, mother-infant interaction was assessed in the NICU with an observational scale. Results: Mothers evidenced high levels of stress and depressive symptoms during the hospitalization. The stress experienced by these women was significant, although weakly, associated with the interaction with their babies; and mothers of small for gestational age babies showed difficulties in this area. Conclusions: The results of this study could represent a contribution to a better understanding of the relation between the characteristics of moderate preterm babies, maternal emotional wellbeing, and the quality of mother-infant interactions in NICU settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Moderate preterm
  • mother-infant interaction
  • neuroprotection
  • neuroprotective strategies
  • perinatal mental health
  • premature birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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