Skin-to-Skin Care is Associated with Reduced Stress, Anxiety, and Salivary Cortisol and Improved Attachment for Mothers of Infants With Critical Congenital Heart Disease.

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Lisanti: 0000-0002-1826-6152

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Journal of obstetric, gynecologic, and neonatal nursing : JOGNN / NAACOG

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OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of skin-to-skin care (SSC) on biobehavioral measures of stress (anxiety and salivary cortisol) and attachment (attachment scores and salivary oxytocin) of mothers before and after their infants' neonatal cardiac surgery.

DESIGN: A prospective interventional, baseline response-paired pilot study.

SETTING: Cardiac center of a large, metropolitan, freestanding children's hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty women whose infants were hospitalized for neonatal cardiac surgery.

METHODS: Participants acted as their own controls before, during, and after SSC at two time points: once before and once after surgery. We measured the stress response of mothers, as indicated by self-reported scores of anxiety and maternal salivary cortisol, and maternal-infant attachment, as indicated by self-reported scores and maternal salivary oxytocin.

RESULTS: Significant reductions in self-reported scores of anxiety and salivary cortisol were found as a result of SSC at each time point, as well as increased self-reported attachment. No significant differences were found in oxytocin.

CONCLUSION: Our findings provide initial evidence of the benefits of SSC as a nurse-led intervention to support maternal attachment and reduce physiologic and psychological stress responses in mothers of infants with critical congenital heart disease before and after neonatal cardiac surgery.



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