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FLECK, Adriana  and  PICCININI, César Augusto. The imaginary baby and the real premature baby: form birth to 3 months after discharge. Aletheia [online]. 2013, n.40, pp. 14-30. ISSN 1413-0394.

In the context of prematurity, the confrontation between the imaginary baby and the real baby can be very intense. The aim of this study was to investigate the representations of the imaginary baby and real premature baby, in the post-childbirth, pre-discharge and 3 months after discharge period. The participants were four first-time mothers of preterm infants and a collective-case study of a longitudinal character was carried out. Mothers were interviewed and a qualitative content analysis was used. The results revealed an intense confrontation between the imaginary baby and the real baby. The elaboration of the loss of the imaginary baby and the streghtering of the bond with the baby appeared mainly 3 months after discharge. The mothers were happy and proud with the characteristics and development of their babies. Due to the complexity of prematurity it is important that health professionals are available to help in the development of mother-infant bond.

Keywords : Prematurity; Imaginary and real baby.

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