Manipal Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences

Article Title

Experiences of mothers of preterm neonates following discharge from Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) - A qualitative content analysis


Preterm birth brings with it stress that requires separation from their parents, acute care, prolonged hospitalization, rigorous medical interventions with more technological contact. A preterm neonate in the neonatal intensive care unit, not only places the parents in emotional turmoil, but it also makes them experience physical, social, financial and spiritual stress. This study retrospectively explored the experiences of parents of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) graduates (neonates who are discharged from NICU) in dealing with preterm neonates and identified their coping mechanisms. Methodology: Data was collected through a telephonic interview from six mothers of preterm infants discharged from the NICU using a qualitative descriptive design. A retrospective analysis of the experiences of mothers during hospital stay was assessed. A qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the interviews. Results: In the study, it was observed that parents experienced fear, anxiety and uncertainty, lack of control and feeling of low self-esteem. The major concerns were that their neonate would be discharged without developing complications and difficulty understanding medical jargons. The mothers seemed to believe that the stay of their baby in the NICU accelerated their coping skills and emotional strength and they also became very courageous and confident in taking care of their babies. Conclusions: The results of the study would help health professionals recognize families suffering and expectations from the medical community in reducing the burden. The study would serve as a base for future research studies and evidence-based practice.