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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 126-134

Correlates of antenatal bonding ( an Egyptian Study)

1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
2 Department of Psychiatry, Beni Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Suaad Moussa
MD, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJP.0000414132.30979.90

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The relationship between mother and child develops and progresses throughout the pregnancy period. In recent times there has been increasing interest in antenatal maternal–foetal bonding and its relationship with different variables, as well as the impact of this bonding on the child’s mental health.


To investigate the pattern of maternal–foetal relationship during pregnancy, and its relationship to maternal depression and to different sociodemographic and pregnancy-related factors, as well as to the perception of intimate relation with spouse.


One hundred expectant Egyptian mothers attending obstetric outpatient clinics for regular follow-up of their pregnancy were recruited into the study. They were asked to fill the Maternal–Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS), the Intimate Bond Measure and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.


Maternal antenatal bonding was significantly higher on the MFAS in expectant mothers with longer gestational age. Women with assisted pregnancy had significantly higher scores on the MFAS total score and Role Taking and Attribution subscales. However, if the cause of infertility was unexplained or related to female-oriented factors, the aforementioned MFAS scores tended to be significantly lower than when infertility was related to male-oriented or both factors. Primiparous women had significantly higher scores on the MFAS total score and Role Taking and Differentiation subscales compared with multiparous women. Women who perceived themselves as being healthy had significantly higher scores on the Interaction subscale of MFAS. In this study the intimate relationship with the spouse, and not the marriage duration, showed significant differences in relation to maternal bonding. Expectant mothers who reported a positive attitude towards their marital relationship (Optimal Intimacy and Affectionate Constraint) had significant higher means on the total score of the MFAS and on the Interaction, Giving of Self and Role Taking subscales. The study showed that expectant women with previous loss of foetus and those with no depressive symptoms had better bonding despite the lack of significance.


Maternal antenatal bonding is associated with multiple factors including longer gestational age, parity, previous loss of foetus, assisted pregnancy, perceived good maternal health and intimacy with partner.

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