For any parent who’s had a premature baby, it can be a scary and difficult few weeks or even months of monitoring baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. Surprisingly, it turns out that bringing baby home from the hospital can also a trigger for stress—especially for dads, according to new research.
A new study from Northwestern Medicine found that it’s actually the dads of preemies (defined as being born before 37 weeks)—not the moms—who are most stressed during that crucial two-week period when families first bring their baby home from the NICU.
When researchers studied the cortisol levels of participating couples the day before they were discharged from the hospital, then one day, five days and 14 days after coming home, they discovered that while the mothers’ stress levels remained constant during those first 14 days at home with their preemie, fathers experienced an increase in their stress levels. And the reason why is actually very understandable.
“Dad goes from a situation where the baby and mom are cared for by experts in the hospital…
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