Mothers' Involvement in Caring for their Premature Infants: An Historical Overview
Mothers’ involvement in caring for their premature infants: an historical overview
Background. Advances in technology have resulted in increasing survival rates even
for extremely premature infants. While sophisticated medical management is vital to
infant survival, research has found that social factors and care giving processes are
important predictors of infants’ later outcome. Consequently, evidence is accumulating
to demonstrate the fundamental role of mothers and families to the optimal
developmental outcome of premature infants.
Aim. The aim of the work reported here was to undertake an historical overview of
premature infant care practices to increase neonatal nurse’s knowledge of the crucial
role of mothers and families in the care of their premature infants. Understanding
past practice and current trends can provide neonatal nurses with critical insight
which will assist in formulating current and future care.
Method. Research and historical articles focusing on maternal involvement in
preterm infant care from the development of the incubator to the present time were
examined. A search of the literature between 1960 and 2002 was conducted using
the MEDLINE, CINAHL and PSYCLIT databases. The search terms were premature
infant, neonatal intensive care, history, and maternal care.
Findings. Three major themes were identified which reflect the development of
neonatal care. Firstly, over the last century advances in medical and public health
practice saw a decline in mortality rates for mothers and infants. Secondly, the
application of this new knowledge resulted in the institutionalization and professionalization of obstetric and neonatal care which, in turn, resulted in the isolation of infants from their mothers. Finally, concurrent advances in infant research
emphasized the importance of mother–infant relationships to infants’ developmental
outcome, resulting in greater flexibility in hospital practices regarding parental
contact with their infants.
Conclusion. As biomedical advances in technology continue to help smaller, sicker
premature infants to survive, neonatal nurses are strategically placed to promote
positive outcomes for infants and their families through the integration of social
science and behavioural research into nursing practice.
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|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Additional Information:||For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link).|
|Keywords:||premature infant, neonatal intensive care, history, mother–infant interaction, infant outcomes and maternal care|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research|
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2003 Blackwell Publishing|
|Copyright Statement:||The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com|
|Deposited On:||10 Sep 2007|
|Last Modified:||29 Feb 2012 23:00|
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