Proxemic communication between mother and newborn at risk in the neonatal unit


  • Leiliane Martins Farias
  • Maria Vera Lúcia Moreira Leitão Cardoso
  • Isolda Pereira da Silveira
  • Ana Fátima Carvalho Fernandes


Mother-child relations, Maternal behavior, Intensive care, Neonatal, Newborn.


This is a descriptive, exploratory study which aimed to analyze the proxemic communication of the mother-child binomial in a Neonatal Intensive Therapy Unit-ITUin Fortaleza-Ceará from October to November 2006. The sample consisted of 20 mothers and 20 newborn babies. Six factors from Hall’s Proxemic Theory were used. The results showed three interaction angles between mothers and newborns: eighteen mothers were opposite to the newborns, one of them was next to the baby, and the other one was giving her back to the baby. Proxemic and cinesic factors: fifteen mothers got to a close distance, four of them were at a personal distance, and another one at a social distance. As for mother’s facial expressions, the smile (9) and the tranquility (7) were observed with higher frequency; the crying (13) and the tranquility (7) were observed among the newborn babies. As for the mother’s behavior contact, most cherished their babies (16), touched them (14), and held them lingeringly (15). In the visual code, nineteen mothers looked at their children. As for the voice volume, it was low (14) or normal (2). It is possible to infer that the behavior focused by the factors allowed us to evaluate a special behavior of the mother-child binomial.




How to Cite

Farias, L. M., Cardoso, M. V. L. M. L., Silveira, I. P. da, & Fernandes, A. F. C. (2009). Proxemic communication between mother and newborn at risk in the neonatal unit. Rev Rene, 10(2). Retrieved from



Research Article

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