Perinatal Depression, Fetal Bonding, and Mother-Child Attachment: A Review of the Literature
Shaila Misri and Kristin Kendrick
Affiliation: University of British Columbia,Reproductive Mental Health Program, BC Women's Hospital&Health Centre.
Maternal depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period has been associated with a variety of consequences in the fetus and newborn. In particular, depression has been shown to compromise maternal bonding to her fetus antenatally, and mother-infant interaction and attachment patterns during the postpartum period. In turn, these alterations in the relationship between a mother and her infant can impact the childs social, psychological, behavioral, and cognitive development. The present paper discusses attachment theory, and then reviews literature on the impact of both antenatal and postnatal depression on the relationship between a mother and her child. Developmental consequences for the child are discussed, as are possible treatment options.
Keywords: Depression, pregnancy, postpartum, perinatal, attachment, bonding
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