Stressed About Your Preemie? You'll Still Be a Good Mom

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jun 2015
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Photo: Getty

Having a preemie takes its toll. There’s the worrying, the extra time in the hospital, the not-so-helpful comments from friends and family. (Oh, are you supposed to “feel so lucky” about not having to experience the tail end of pregnancy?) But guess what? It’s not going to affect your parenting in the long run.

After looking at 3,905 children and their mothers from 34 different studies, researchers from the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology blasted previous research that says the stress, separation and increased tendency for depression that moms of preemies experience may hinder their parenting behavior.

In fact, findings show “there is no evidence for the speculation that parents of preterm children, on average, are less good in their parenting,” according to researcher Ayten Bilgin. “More than one in ten children are born preterm in the world. These findings are reassuring that regardless of mother’s initial shock and stress, mothers of preterm children can provide the same sensitive parenting.”

Still, researchers say preemies will need some extra TLC. “This is a good message for parents of preterm children. However, recent findings indicate that preterm children might need even higher levels of maternal sensitivity and facilitation to achieve similar cognitive, behavioral outcomes to full-term children,” says senior author Dieter Wolke. “There is a need to provide parents of preterm children the necessary assistance in parenting in the preschool and early school years for their children to develop at their full potential.”

Talk to your pediatrician about which early intervention programs, if any, are right for your child.

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