Sacred hours: Mothers´ Experiences of Skin-to-skin Contact with Their Infants Immediately After Preterm Birth
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational journal of Pediatrics and Neonatal Care. 2018, 4 (139), . 10.15344/2455-2364/2018/139
Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate mothers’ own experiences of skin-to-skin contact (SSC) with their newborns immediately following moderately premature birth. Design: Mixed method, survey and focus groups interviews. Participants: Thirty-nine mothers giving birth at gestational age 320 - 346 weeks responded to a quantitative questionnaire. Nine of these mothers participated in focus group interviews. Method: In order to obtain information about mothers’ own experiences of immediate SSC with their moderately preterm newborns after birth, quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Using a mixed method approach, descriptive quantitative data were combined with rich qualitative data from focus group interviews to offer a more comprehensive picture of the mother’s own experiences. Key concepts were information about SSC, feeling of safety and mother-infant bonding. Results: The results from both the quantitative and qualitative part of the study were highly congruent: the mothers perceived that they had been given sufficient information by midwives and nurses about SSC following premature birth. According to questionnaire responses and interviews, the mothers’ perception of safety during SSC was enhanced by the continuous presence of a nurse from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Moreover, the mothers felt that SSC was important during the first hours after birth, both for mother-child bonding and for normalization of the birth experience. Conclusion: The results of our study demonstrate that SSC is a useful method to normalize the birth experience and enhance mother-child bonding following a moderately premature birth. We argue that midwives, nurses from NICU and physicians should support and promote SSC immediately following premature birth.