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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Lactation and Stress in Mothers of Premature Infants

Authors
item Lau, Chantal - BAYLOR COLLEGE MEDICINE
item Mikhail, Carmen - BAYLOR COLLEGE MEDICINE
item Hurst, Nancy - BAYLOR COLLEGE MEDICINE
item Schanler, Richard

Submitted to: Pediatric Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: It is presumed that mothers of premature infants have difficulty providing sufficient milk for their infants during hospitalization due to their level of stress. We investigated the correlation between lactation performance 24-h milk collection and maternal stress levels (psychological indices). 38 mothers whose infants were born less than or equal to 30 weeks gestation were studied. Psychological indices, assessed at enrollment and biweekly until discharge or 90 days of age, included Spielberger State Anxiety (S- Anxiety) and Trait Anxiety (T-Anxiety) Inventories, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Parental Stress Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MC). T-Anxiety (measuring anxiety levels in general) and MC were given near the time of enrollment, while S-Anxiety (measuring anxiety levels at the time of each testing) and other tests were administered biweekly. Results:12 mothers (31.6 %) stopped expressing milk prior to their infant's hospital discharge. Of the remaining 26 mothers, 9 were able to provide sufficient milk for their infants throughout their stay. Milk production varied significantly among mothers (P<0.001), and was correlated significantly with T-Anxiety but not with S-Anxiety, BDI, or their perceptions of the NICU. Although there were no differences in most of the psychological indices between mothers who maintained some lactation and those who stopped, mothers who stopped pumping had higher BDI scores. Conclusions: Mothers of premature infants have lactation insufficiency, which appears to be associated with Trait Anxiety measured at the very first visit. In addition, mothers who stopped pumping demonstrated a higher depression score than those who continued providing milk to their infants.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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