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Predicting Birth Stress of Adolescent Mothers

We are currently featuring the ANS article titled “A Model to Predict Birth Stress in Adolescents Within 72 Hours of Childbirth” by Cheryl A. Anderson, PhD, RN, CNS and John P. Connolly, PhD, MLS, MBA, BEng. The article is available at no cost while it is featured.  Dr. Anderson sent this message for ANS readers  about her work:

Nearly a decade ago I attended a psychiatric nursing convention where the keynote speaker addressed the issue of birth trauma among adults in New Zealand. Her research findings greatly impressed me and I wondered how childbearing American women might differ, or be the same.  After exploring the literature I was surprised to see how few studies were conducted in America describing birth trauma, and virtually no studies on childbearing adolescents. As a maternal-child health nurse, I have seen many births among adolescents ages 10-20, and many were scared, depressed, and out of control.  I immediately reset my research goals to look into this area of interest within the potentially vulnerable population of childbearing adolescents 13 to 19 years of age.

Just recently we closed the data collection phase of this longitudinal study with 303 adolescents. I received help via many student research assistants along the way and together we published several articles on various aspects of the study. Currently a paper describing risk factor prevalence and racial/ethnic differences among the White, Black, and Hispanic adolescent child bearer is being written. In collaboration with Dr. John Connolly (statistician) another article is currently under review describing the pattern of depression and posttraumatic stress (PTS) across nine months postpartum.  Our last published article, “A Model to Predict Birth Stress in Adolescents within 72 Hours of Childbirth” in Advances in Nursing Science, is currently being featured.

With an evolving program of research a move was made recently from a population of adolescents to adults over 18 giving birth to preterm infants admitted into neonatal intensive care. As another vulnerable  population to experience depression and PTS, Phase 1 of this current study focuses on exploring the prevalence of depression and PTS and  mother –infant bonding over 18 months. At Phase 2, a random selection of mother-infant dyads will receive a novel, home-based intervention aimed at reducing infant developmental delays and improving maternal mental health and bonding.

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