Premature birth is a distressing event for parents, and it’s not uncommon for some to report symptoms of post-traumatic stress for several years following the birth. Some parents notice changes in their sleep, eating, mood and engaging with others and may have difficulties in adjusting to having the baby at home. Seeking specific, trauma-related psychological intervention early on can really help.
Why mental health can be affected after having a premature baby
An early arrival and a baby in neonatal care will mean facing a sudden change of plans. Initial reactions for many are of shock followed by the relief provided through the safety of the medical and nursing care within the unit. The loss of the prepared for progress and completion of pregnancy and the birth experience often follow shock.
Loss requires grieving, so take steps to talk things through with someone who understands and to express and experience the emotions that accompany grief, such as anger and sadness. Many mothers may be impacted by the lack of predictability of the process and feel unprepared to deal with the challenges that lie ahead, increasing a sense of helplessness and anxiety.
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