Purpose: To understand experiences of mothers who had a baby hospitalized in the NICU and then decided to have another pregnancy.
Study Design and Methods: We used a descriptive phenomenological approach to study 12 mothers in Japan who had a child hospitalized in the NICU and had a subsequent child. Data were collected by semistructured interviews that occurred two to four times per participant. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi's method.
Results: Although all of the mothers had a child who was making steady progress, they experienced difficulty when deciding on having another pregnancy. Our analysis identified five theme clusters: delaying pregnancy; unwavering view about having subsequent children; changing values regarding pregnancy and childbirth; relief of anxiety and fear about repeated hospitalization in the NICU; and preparedness to accept the outcome of pregnancy.
Clinical Implications: Our study suggests that mothers require support during babies' hospitalization in the NICU and for the process of decision-making about a subsequent pregnancy. Family-centered care as the basis for nursing practice in the NICU is ideal to provide this type of support.