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.
Having a baby admitted to the neontatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a stressful experience with multiple future implications. In this study, mothers discuss their decision to have another baby after experiencing their newborns' NICU hospitalization.
Yuki Funaba is an Assistant Professor, Division of Nursing Science, Midwifery and Maternal-Newborn Nursing, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan. The author can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
Kyoko Yokoo is a Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.
Mio Ozawa is a Lecturer, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.
Saori Fujimoto is a Lecturer, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.
Yuko Kido is a Staff Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Hiroshima Prefectural Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan.
Rie Fukuhara is a Neonatologist, Hiroshima Prefectural Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
No funding was used for this study.