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This paper discusses the relationship between maternal care, mother-fetal/infant interaction, and the maturation of habituation and circadian-rhythm processes, as well as the influences on later life.
Fully human, personal, psychological, and relational life begins before birth, and constitutes the foundation for our basic feelings of security and trust. Two vital maturational/developmental processes begin before birth and continue thereafter: habituation and sleep-wake circadian cyclicity. These two processes, which are dependent on maternal-fetus/infant interaction, enable the fetus to adapt itself to extra-uterine life. Most habituation and circadian sleep-wake-rhythm studies have focused on physiological and biological characteristics. Insufficient attention has been devoted to the influence of maternal functioning on two of them before birth, at the time of birth, and in later life. This paper discusses the relationship between maternal care, mother-fetal/infant interaction, and the maturation of habituation and circadian-rhythm processes, as well as the influences on later life.
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