African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Becoming mothers of preterm infants: A literature review on feelings of vulnerability

N.C. van Wyk, R. Leech, C. Boersema


Women who desire to have children associate motherhood with giving birth to healthy full term infants, to be able to bond with them easily and to best take care of them. When complications interrupt pregnancies, these women are confronted with situations that they are not prepared for. They are expected to cope with complicated births and the care of high risk infants. The authors aimed to study existing research reports on the feelings of vulnerability of mothers of preterm infants. A review of literature was carried out through a computerized search strategy to identify relevant research reports (articles) from the following databases: CINAHL, Family & Society Worldwide and MEDLINE from 2000 to the end of 2013. The feelings of vulnerability that the women experienced in the selected research reports related to their own perceptions of becoming mothers of preterm infants and to their relationship with others. They felt insecure in “becoming mothers of preterm infants” and doubt their own mothering capabilities.

Keywords: Preterm infants, mothers, literature review, vulnerability.

AJOL African Journals Online