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Preparing heart and mind following prenatal diagnosis of complex congenital heart defect

Journal title
Qualitative health research
Publication year
McKechnie, A. C.; Pridham, K.

Drawing on attachment and caregiving theory and the concept of motivation, the purpose of this descriptive study was to examine parents’ retrospective accounts of their prenatal experiences after receiving the diagnosis of a fetal heart defect. These parents constituted a subgroup of participants in a larger longitudinal study of parenting an infant with a complex congenital heart defect. Data were derived from 14 semistructured interviews with 13 mothers and 3 fathers in the home or hospital setting. A directed content analysis yielded a central category of preparing heart and mind for infant caregiving. Preparing heart and mind is a preliminary caregiving goal within the caregiving system that generates intentions and expectations indicative of specific caregiving motivations to relate to the baby, handle circumstances practically, and manage infant medical care. A theoretical model illustrates the prenatal process these parents engaged in to provide care to their infants with life-threatening medical conditions.

Research abstracts