Amer J Perinatol 2017; 34(08): 808-817
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1599052
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Maternal Bonding through Pregnancy and Postnatal: Findings from an Australian Longitudinal Study

Larissa Rossen
1  National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
,
Delyse Hutchinson
1  National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2  Faculty of Health, School of Psychology, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
3  Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Population Studies of Adolescents, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4  Department of Paediatrics and Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
,
Judy Wilson
1  National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
,
Lucinda Burns
1  National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
,
Steve Allsop
5  National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Western Australia, Australia
,
Elizabeth J. Elliott
6  Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, The University of Sydney, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
,
Sue Jacobs
7  Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
,
Jacqui A. Macdonald
2  Faculty of Health, School of Psychology, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
3  Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Population Studies of Adolescents, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4  Department of Paediatrics and Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
,
Craig Olsson
2  Faculty of Health, School of Psychology, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
3  Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Population Studies of Adolescents, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4  Department of Paediatrics and Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
,
Richard P. Mattick
1  National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

04 July 2016

05 January 2017

Publication Date:
17 February 2017 (eFirst)

Abstract

Background Mother-infant bonding provides the foundation for secure attachment through the lifespan and organizes many facets of infant social-emotional development, including later parenting.

Aims To describe maternal bonding to offspring across the pregnancy and postnatal periods, and to examine a broad range of sociodemographic and psychosocial predictors of the maternal-offspring bond.

Methods Data were drawn from a sample of 372 pregnant women participating in an Australian population-based longitudinal study of postnatal health and development. Participants completed maternal bonding questionnaires at each trimester and 8 weeks postnatal. Data were collected on a range of sociodemographic and psychosocial factors.

Results Bonding increased significantly through pregnancy, in quality and intensity. Regression analyses indicated that stronger antenatal bonding at all time points (trimesters 1 through 3) predicted stronger postnatal bonding. Older maternal age, birth mother being born in a non-English speaking country, mother not working full time, being a first-time mother, breast-feeding problems, and baby's crying behavior all predicted poorer bonding at 8 weeks postpartum.

Conclusion These novel findings have important implications for pregnant women and their infant offspring, and for health care professionals working in perinatal services. Importantly, interventions to strengthen maternal-fetal bonding would be beneficial during pregnancy to enhance postnatal bonding and infant health outcomes.