Interaction of Stress and Lactation Differs between Mothers of Premature Singletons and Multiples
Preterm mothers commonly have difficulty providing sufficient milk to meet the needs of their infants (Lau 2001). For many infants, lactation is halted prior to their hospital discharge. This early termination of lactation is often blamed on the stress mothers encounter as a result of the medical condition of their infants. Indeed, inhibition of lactation by stress routinely is acknowledged and a number of studies have reported significant psychological distress in preterm mothers (Lau 2001; Meyer et al. 1995; Miles et al. 1999; Singer et al. 1999). However, no study to our knowledge has investigated the relationship between stress and lactation in the same mothers. In 2002, we examined such interaction in mothers of infants born <30 weeks gestation. Lactation performance was measured as 24-hour milk collection. Maternal psychological distress was assessed as a function of anxiety, depression, and a parental stress score scale specifically designed for neonatal intensive care units [PSS:NICU] (Miles et al. 1993). Total duration of skin-to-skin holding during hospitalization and pumping frequency also were recorded. We reported that the lactation performance of these mothers was correlated negatively with depression, but not anxiety, and positively with skin-to-skin holding and pumping frequency (Lau et al. 2002). Given that multiple births account for a large proportion of premature deliveries (Blondel et al. 2002), determination of whether the interaction of stress and lactation differed between mothers of premature singletons and multiples is important.
KeywordsNeonatal Intensive Care Unit Multiple Birth Lactation Performance General Clinical Research Center Maternal Psychological Distress
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.