Exploring the Influence of a Mindfulness Intervention on the Experiences of Mothers with Infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Mothers with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at increased risk of psychological distress, which can have lasting negative impacts on both mother and infant. However, few interventions are available to promote these mothers’ mental health and wellbeing. In the context of a pilot randomized controlled trial testing a mindfulness intervention for mothers with infants in the NICU, we explore the experiences of the mothers participating in the mindfulness-based intervention, with mothers in the control group as comparison, and the ways they felt it influenced their time in the NICU. Method: Twenty-six participants (15 participants in the intervention arm and 11 participants in the control arm) recruited from two NICUs in an urban center in Eastern United States completed semi-structured interviews. Interviews explored the mothers’ NICU experience as well as experience with the mindfulness and health education (control) programs. Data was analyzed using an iterative, thematic constant comparison process informed by grounded theory. Results: Mothers reported that participation in the mindfulness intervention helped them to calm the chaos through recentering and fostering connections, find comfort through non-judgmental acceptance, gain perspective on the situation, and facilitate self-care. These were experienced only among the mothers in the intervention arm. These themes did not vary based on demographics of the mothers in the mindfulness study arm or their pre-study awareness of mindfulness. Conclusions: Mindfulness interventions may foster new practices and perspectives for mothers with infants in the NICU, potentially leading to improved mental health wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-229
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Intervention
  • Maternal mental health
  • Maternal stress
  • Mindfulness
  • NICU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the Influence of a Mindfulness Intervention on the Experiences of Mothers with Infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this