Post-traumatic symptomatology in parents with premature infants: a systematic review of the literature.

Abstract

The emotional distress resulting from the experience of giving birth toa preterm infant (gestational age , 37 weeks) and the subsequent neonatal unithospitalisation may be a traumatic experience for parents. In the present systematicliterature review, studies on parental posttraumatic symptomatology following birth ofa premature infant were reviewed. A total of 5 studies were identified. All studiesreviewed found that posttraumatic symptomatology is quite common in parents orprimary caregivers of premature infants. However, methodological weaknesses ofrelevant studies (e.g. use of convenience samples, lack of pre – delivery assessments)make it difficult to draw consistent conclusions regarding prevalence of posttraumaticsymptomatology in this population group or whether the experience of a premature birthcould be responsible for the development of PTSD. Directions for future research are discussed

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