Delivery-related knowledge of mothers of NICU infants compared with well-baby-nursery infants
J Perinat Med
Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the knowledge of mothers of newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and well-baby nursery (WBN) regarding their understanding of term gestation, delivery mode safety, and elective late preterm delivery. Methods: Mothers of newborns admitted to either an NICU (n = 88) or a WBN (n = 145) were surveyed (March 2008-September 2010). Results: Of all mothers, regardless of infant location, 7% were unable to define term gestation, 33% were unaware that scheduling delivery at 35-36 weeks is not advisable, and 30% lacked the knowledge that cesareans are not safer than vaginal deliveries. Multivariate regression models show that socioeconomic and demographic factors underlie many knowledge gaps, and surprisingly, models confirmed that the site (NICU versus WBN) of the infant was not a significant factor related to maternal knowledge. Conclusion: This study revealed gaps in mothers' understanding of the medical implications of premature delivery even though most mothers knew the correct length of term gestation. Unexpectedly, NICU mothers who had a child with significant illness and who encountered multiple health care providers did not have improved understanding of perinatal risks. We conclude that all women need to be educated on the significance of the mode and the timing of delivery.
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