The bond between a mother and her unborn child
Lucija Pavše, Nataša Tul Mandić & Vislava Globevnik Velikonja
Abstract: The bond between a mother and a child starts to develop before birth, increases with the gestational age of the child and is related to the quality of postpartum mother–infant interaction. Even though the expression maternal-fetal or prenatal attachment is commonly used to describe the parent's emotions, behaviors and perceptions that are related to the fetus, its use seems to be unsuitable. Considering Bowlby's and Ainsworth's theory of attachment, the relationship between mother and her unborn child is guided by the caregiving system. The purpose of this article is to lay out the dilemmas about the terminology, to present different definitions, measurements and variables, related to the relationship between the mother and her fetus. This relationship is a predictor of various maternal and child outcomes postnatally, which is why the goals of future investigation should be directed towards greater clarity in conceptualization, definition and measurement of the concept, and in exploration of the risks and mediating factors.
Keywords: prenatal attachment, pregnancy, mothers, caregiving system