The relationship between very premature children´s development and mothers’ emotional state compared to control group



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Tartu Ülikool


The aim of this study is to describe the emotional state of mothers of children born very preterm compared to mothers of children born at-term and examine relations between mothers’ emotional state and cognitive, language, motor and social-emotional development in very preterm and term born children at the age of two. The impact of postnatal characteristics and demographic data on both matters were examined. Methods Participants were 151 children born very preterm (<32 gestational weeks) and 149 children term born with 130 mothers of very preterm and 148 term born children mothers. At 2 year’s age for the children, maternal current emotional state was assessed as well as how they felt after birth using the Emotional State Questionnaire (EST-Q2). Child developmental outcomes were assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Third Edition (Bayley-III). Results Mothers of children born very preterm reported significantly lower scores on the EST-Q2 subscales after giving birth compared to mothers of term born children. Mothers’ emotional state was associated with prematurity and social-emotional development of children. Children’s development was mainly described by prematurity and mothers’ depression. Severity of neurodevelopmental disability is an important factor, describing approximately 44% of preterm children’s developmental outcomes and 22% in control group. Conclusion Findings highlight the need to identify and support mothers of children born very preterm with mental health problems.



very preterm child, neurodevelopmental disability, maternal emotional state