While it’s stressful for both parents, a recent study has found that fathers feel more pressure after a premature baby is brought home.
Up until now, little research had been done into the impact having a premature baby has on dads. The latest findings show that on top of worrying about the health implications for their children, men feel additional stress to look after their partner and baby, and keep the household running.
“We do a great job of preparing these babies to go home. Have we prepared the parents well enough to send them home?”
As part of the study, he assessed survey results from 86 parents examining their stress levels. Their cortisol levels, an indication of stress, were also measured. Saliva tests were taken three times – on day one, five and 14 days after the baby came home from the hospital. High levels of cortisol are an indication of stress.
What he discovered was dads, while not admitting to being stressed, had higher levels of cortisol than their partners.
“They are actually internally feeling more stress than what they were reporting. That has lots of significance,” Dr Garfield said.
“We need to find other ways to get at what dad is experiencing.”
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INFORMATION THAT MAY HELP
Information is power. We’ve provided a number of resources to help parents through their neonatal journey. Our ‘Tips for Dads’ resource provides a number of tips written by fathers who have been through a neonatal journey. You can read it here: Tips for Dads
Also, here’s some useful resources on activities to consider when on a neonatal journey. These can help you bond with your baby, help with the stress of the journey, and support your partner: