The role of parents

As the number of preterm births has been rising, more and more parents have to deal with a preterm birth. The birth of a baby, maybe even before 24 weeks of gestation, is a very pressing and burdening situation for a family in which they might  be involved over years.

After birth the mother and her baby are separated from each other and they receive independently in-patient treatment. Many parents see their baby again in the incubator which is essential for survival as the body of a preterm cannot sustain vital functions alone. Organs such as heart, lungs and intestines must be closely monitored and supported. In addition to the concern about the survival of the baby and the situation between hope and fear, they also have to transfer responsibility to nurses and doctors. In this new and unexpected situation, surrounded by a high-tech atmosphere, it is understandable that parents have feelings of guilt and failure. In many cases they suffer from self-doubt, exhaustion and even depression.

The shorter pregnancy mostly catches the parents off guard in taking on their role as parents. They are robbed of the time that is normally available for establishing a relationship to the unborn child. Despite generous visiting times of the clinic (often 24 hour visits), parents cannot establish an unhindered contact with the child in the incubator.


Further information about the role of the parents can be found here: