Premature birth and your mental health

Giving birth to a premature baby is emotionally traumatic as well as physically. Taking care of your mental health is important

When your baby is born prematurely, you will be plunged into a situation of uncertainty as her condition fluctuates. You may need to take in a huge amount of medical and technical detail in a very short space of time.

As well as feeling joy, love and happiness at the birth of your baby, this period can also be extremely stressful and overwhelming. It is not unusual to feel quite exhausted and unhappy or tearful for several months after having your baby.

Many parents find it difficult to focus on their own needs after having a new baby - especially if she is unwell. This is understandable, but using some of your energy to take care of yourself will help your baby in the long run because it means you'll be in a better position to take care of her.

If your baby was born unexpectedly before 30 weeks you may not have attended antenatal classes and may be both psychologically and practically unprepared. Many parents of premature babies will not have bought prams, baby clothing or other baby equipment.

Read more about your emotional wellbeing

Last reviewed on April 1st, 2012. Next review date April 1st, 2015.

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