Postpartum Depression in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Experience of Mothers Utilizing a Webcam

Gerfen, Martha, Nursing Practice - School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Barbero, Edie, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

Introduction: Mothers of infants admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are at increased risk for postpartum depression (PPD). There is limited research into the risk factors and NICU based interventions to prevent and treat depression. Webcams are becoming standard of care in the NICU. Research has shown that webcams increase attachment and decrease anxiety. No previous research examined the use of this technology for PPD prevention and it is an area that requires exploration.
Purpose: The project aims to identify whether the participants in a webcam study have PPD and describe the experience of mothers utilizing a webcam.
Method: This project occurred as a sub-project of an established webcam feasibility study. The research design was a descriptive qualitative survey with ethnographic analysis. A convenience sample of 12 NICU infant mothers were enrolled in a larger webcam study at a Central Virginia Academic Medical Center 51-bed Level IV NICU. Mothers completed demographic data upon enrollment and infant characteristics were gathered from the electronic medical record. A semi-structured interview included the Patient-Health Questionnaire-2 depression screen. Data collection through the semi-structured interview occurred 7-10 days after initiation of the webcam system.
Results: One mother screened positive for depression (8.7%). Three recurring themes emerged from the interviews: baby in the NICU, cyber-parenting, and if the baby is ok, mother is ok.
Nursing Implications: Education on the use of the technology would benefit mothers and future research is necessary to further explore webcam technology and PPD.

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
postpartum depression, webcam, neonatal intensive care unit
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