Psychological distress among mothers with preterm babies at the women and newborn hospital neonatal intensive care unit Lusaka, Zambia

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Chifwaila, Levison
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University of Zambia
Psychological distress in mothers of hospitalized preterm babies is a global health concern because they experience more severe levels of psychological distress in the postnatal period than those with full term babies due to worry about the health of baby, the prognosis and lifelong complications. Psychologically distressed has negative effects on the health of the mother and also on growth and development of baby. In Zambia the rates of premature births are between 10% and 15%. In 2016 at least 2,160 mothers were at risk of experiencing psychological distress at Women and Newborn Hospital (WNH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The objective of the study was to explore psychological distress among mothers with preterm babies at WNH NICU. There is very scanty information on psychological distress and associated factors Lusaka, Zambia. It was important to conducted study this study in order to establish highly individualized and precise interventions to assist the affected women in Zambian. It is envisaged that the study results would improve care of mothers of hospitalized preterm babies to prevent term effects of psychological distress. Methods; a non-interventional cross section descriptive quantitative study design was used. Data was collected using a structured interview schedule. A total of 123 questionnaires were administered with a response rate of 100%. The respondents were as follows 32% were aged less than 21 years, 54% between 21 and 30 years and 14% between 31 and 40 years. 18% were single and 82% were married. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. T tests and ANOVA were used to test the differences of the mean depression scores for variables. The results revealed that the majority, 72% of the women had psychological distress, separation of the baby from the mother and worry about the survival of the baby was association with psychological distress. On the other hand guilty feelings and social support was not associated with psychological distress. In conclusion, psychological distress of mothers of hospitalized preterm babies should be addressed to prevent effects of PD and improve the outcome of prematurity. Keywords: Psychological distress, Social support, worry, survival, separation, guilty feeling.
Psychological distress , Social support