Quality of Life Research

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 115–122 | Cite as

Mothers of infants with congenital heart defects: well-being from pregnancy through the child’s first six months

  • Maria T. Grønning DaleEmail author
  • Øivind Solberg
  • Henrik Holmstrøm
  • Markus A. Landolt
  • Leif T. Eskedal
  • Margarete E. Vollrath



This study compared the well-being among mothers of children with congenital heart defects (CHD) with mothers of children without CHD (controls), at pregnancy and at 6 months postpartum.


We linked prospective data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, with a nationwide medical CHD registry. In the MoBa cohort of 61,456 mothers, we identified 212 mothers of infants with mild (n = 92), moderate (n = 50), or severe CHD (n = 70). Subjective well-being was operationalized by means of maternal life satisfaction, joy, and anger at the 30th week of gestation and at 6 months postpartum.


Subjective well-being in mothers of children with CHD remained unchanged and similar to that of controls on satisfaction with life (P = 0.120) and feelings of joy (P = 0.065). However, at child age 6 months, mothers of infants with severe CHD reported slightly elevated feelings of anger compared with controls (P = 0.006).


Joy and life satisfaction remained intact among mothers of children with CHD. Yet, elevated feelings of anger in mothers of children with the most severe CHD suggest that they may experience more frustration.


Congenital heart defect Life satisfaction Joy Anger Motherhood 



The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Health, NIH/NIEHS (grant no. N01-ES-85433), NIH/NINDS (grant no.1 UO1 NS 047537-01), and the Norwegian Research Council/FUGE (grant no. 186031/V50).

The authors wish to thank Sarah E. Hampson for critically reviewing the paper for important intellectual content (NCR fund no. 194190).

Conflicts of interests

We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical standards

The study has been approved by the Norwegian Regional Comittee of Medical Ethics and by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate and is in agreement with the established international research codes of ethics.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria T. Grønning Dale
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Øivind Solberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henrik Holmstrøm
    • 3
  • Markus A. Landolt
    • 4
  • Leif T. Eskedal
    • 5
  • Margarete E. Vollrath
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychosomatics and Health BehaviorNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Psychosomatics and PsychiatryUniversity Children’s HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsSørlandet Hospital HFKristiansandNorway

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