Through the Looking Glass: Complexities of Trauma for Mothers and Their Babies Born Very Preterm

  • Catherine CampbellEmail author
  • Felice Watt
  • Mary Sharp
Reference work entry


The delivery of a very preterm infant (VP, gestation less than 32 weeks) is a crisis for both mother and her baby. This chapter presents a relational framework for assisting the psychological adjustment of mothers to very term birth. Trauma and grief are layered through every level of adjustment, and are evolving alongside critical transitions in the development of the mother-infant attachment relationship. The incidence of acute situational stress, adjustment disorder, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder is much greater than in other perinatal contexts. Complex trauma presentations are also discussed in the context of consultation-liaison psychiatric models of care.


Preterm Birth Traumatic Stress Mental Health Clinician Distress Tolerance Attachment Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Australia 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neonatal Clinical Care UnitKing Edward Memorial Hospital and Centre for Neonatal Research and Education, The University of Western AustraliaWAAustralia
  2. 2.Women’s Health Clinical Care UnitKing Edward Memorial HospitalWAAustralia

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