A new international study proves that mothers of premature babies lack information related to the premature birth of a child. As many as 44% of mothers of children born before the deadline experience fear for their child, every fourth mother feels guilty, and almost every third person feels helplessness. On the occasion of the World Premature Day in 9 countries in the world, a questionnaire survey was conducted to test the knowledge of pregnant women and parents about problems related to the care of prematurely born children.
The survey involved 949 respondents, randomly selected, among the group meeting the criteria. Among them were mothers of premature babies - 568, mothers of children born on term - 600, pregnant women - 592 and fathers of prematurely born children - 892. The study was approved by the management of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborns (EFCNI). EFCNI is an organization representing parents and medical experts, whose aim is to improve the long-term care of premature babies and newborns with health problems and support for their families. The main goal of the study was to assess the emotional effects and awareness of complications resulting from premature birth. The survey was conducted by the research company P / S / L Research in August this year.
Mothers of premature babies need emotional support
Lack of information and low awareness of specific hazards for the respiratory system
The results of the study suggest that mothers of premature babies should be informed about the risks associated with premature birth, including those associated with respiratory infections. Among mothers of prematurely born children who received information about prematurity, 85% of them considered information about complications resulting from premature births as very valuable. What's more, as many as 62% of mothers of premature babies said that they would like to have more information about potential health complications occurring in a premature baby.
Unfortunately, less than half of the respondents (49% ) received or sought information on how to prevent respiratory infections in their children. This is important because premature babies are at risk of poor health, including an increased risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory complications.
One of the objectives of the study was to analyze the awareness of risk factors for respiratory infections. It turned out that only 50% of premature mothers know that the week in which the baby is born can be a potential risk factor
4% consider school-age siblings as another risk factor, and 26% think that having more than four household members and guests at home poses a risk for respiratory infections in the child. These results show that there is a need to raise the awareness of respiratory risk factors among premature mothers.
Premature mothers need information about children's health risks
Respiratory infections are one of the most common complications in pre-term babies. Infection of the airways has a much greater impact on the mothers of premature babies compared to mothers of children born at the time. Of the mothers of premature babies whose children experienced acute respiratory infections last year, 57% of them described their stay in the hospital as being associated with an acute respiratory infection. Among the mothers of children born at the time it was 40% . The same group of mothers identified financial difficulties as being associated with acute respiratory infection (47% ).
Due to poorly developed lungs and the immune system, premature babies are at high risk of respiratory tract infections resulting from diseases such as RS virus. It is important for health professionals to provide parents with information about risk factors for respiratory infections, said Dr Xavier Carbonell-Estrany, president of the World Association for Perinatal Medicine.
Mothers of premature babies count on emotional support from health care workers
The medical staff (doctors, nurses) play a huge role in educating parents on how to prevent respiratory infections in their children, as well as on pre-term care, both during the child's stay in the neonatal unit and after leaving the neonatal unit. Emotional support is also very important to them as they are lost, are scared and often do not know how to help their child. Support from the doctor or nurse, especially in the first days of hospital stay, seems to be crucial.
Health workers who support mothers of premature babies in the hospital and after leaving the hospital play a vital role in educating them on how to prevent respiratory infections in children. They can remind mothers of the importance of frequent hand washing, avoiding cigarette smoke and avoiding meetings with friends and family members who may have respiratory infections - said Dr. Carole Kenner, RNC-NIC, NNP, FAAN, Director / Secretary of the International Council of Nurses for New Born (COINN).
Research shows that care and support from medical staff is insufficient. Only 3% of premature mothers had the feeling that they received emotional and psychological support or advice from hospital staff who looked after their child. 44% of premature mothers feel fear for their child, 25% feel guilty, and 29% feel helplessness. As many as 40% of premature mothers had difficulties in establishing ties with their child.
Prematurity mothers value emotional support from other parents
Support for parents of premature babies can also flow from patient organizations through their websites, telephone advice or in cooperation with pediatric departments. These groups are often run by parents of premature babies who can share their own experiences related to the incidence and possibilities of solving all problems of preterm infants.
Almost half of premature mothers assess interactive online sources of contact with other parents (e.g. blogs) as a very valuable support measure in terms of problems related to preterm delivery and related issues. 40% of premature mothers also appreciate social media. 65% of premature mothers feel the need to exchange experiences between their parents, recognizing that one of the key roles in this group should be raising awareness of premature delivery and the risk associated with it