Fears, reassurance, and milestones: A Twitter analysis around World Prematurity Day during the COVID-19 Pandemic

McKay, Kathy, O'Nions, Elizabeth, Kennedy, Eilis, Wayland, Sarah and Ferguson, David (2021) Fears, reassurance, and milestones: A Twitter analysis around World Prematurity Day during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (20). ISSN 1660-4601 Full text available

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Abstract

Preterm birth (birth <37 completed weeks’ gestation) is common, affecting 10.6% of live births globally (nearly 15 million babies per year). Having a new baby admitted to a neonatal unit often triggers stress and anxiety for parents. This paper seeks to explore experiences of preterm birth via Twitter. The intermingling of COVID-19 restrictions and World Prematurity Day allows for an understanding of both the additional stresses incurred as a consequence of the pandemic and the more “everyday” experiences in the NICU and beyond. The content analysis of the data included 3161 tweets. Three themes were identified: 1. COVID-19 was not the only trauma; 2. Raising awareness, especially World Prematurity Day; and, 3. Baby milestones. These themes highlight the multi-level challenges faced by parents of premature babies and the healthcare professionals involved in their care. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent restrictions imposed on parents’ contact with their babies have resulted in immense emotional strain for families. The reported COVID-19 pandemic “baby blind spot” appears to particularly impact this group of babies. Improved understanding of the lived experiences of preterm babies and their families should inform greater awareness and improved support.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19, Premature birth; Preterm Birth, NICU, Maternal Mental Health Paternal Mental Health, Research & Development Unit
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Development
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Families > Childbirth
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Department/People: Special Units
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2638

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