Adding Comments

We invite Member's comments on any Journal issue or any individual Journal Article. You will find the space for comments at the bottom of each Journal and Article page. You can also send comments directly to the editor at: Members can also be notified of all new comments posted by updating their Notification Settings.
Publication Date: 
Page Count: 
Starting Page: 
Price: $10.00

The following problems are the leading questions of our research project: (1) Can the influence of maternal emotions upon fetal behavior be established in the prenatal period, using real-time ultrasound echography and cardiography? (2) Is the prenatal influence, established in the prenatal period, reflected in the neonatal behavior? And can we find significant correlations between maternal emotions during pregnancy on the one hand and neonatal and infant behavior-e.g. neonatal neurological state and behavioral states organization, feeding behavior, mother-infant-interaction, infant temperament-on the other hand?

Results are as follows: (1) A longitudinal study of 30 women out of a larger group of 70 nulliparous women revealed that maternal state anxiety during echographic recording (120') was significantly correlated with fetal behavior. Moreover it was found that fetal behavior was sensitive to the influence of maternal chronic anxiety (trait anxiety) during pregnancy. (2) Results on the subgroup of 30 women and their babies seem to suggest a certain degree of continuity between fetal and neonatal movement patterns and further indicate that the prenatal influence is reflected in neonatal behavior. Analysis of the follow-up data (n = 70) revealed other effects of maternal emotions (studied during each pregnancy trimester and at the 1st, the 10th and the 28th week after birth) on infant behavior (observed at the 1st, the 10th and the 28th week).


Barnett, B.E.W., Hanna, B. & Parker, G. (1983). Life events scales for obstetric groups. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 27, 313-320.

Bates, J., Freeland, C, & Lounsbury, M. (1979). Measurement of infant difficultness. Child Development, 50, 794-803.

Bayley, N. (1969). Manual for the Bayley Scales of Infant Development New York: The Psychological Association.

Broussard, E.R. (1979). Assessment of the adaptive potential of the mother-infant system: The neonatal perception inventories. Seminars in Perinatology, 3, 91-100.

Carey, W.B. (1970). A simplified method for measuring infant temperament. The Journal of Pediatrics, 77, 188-194.

Carlson, B., & LaBarba, R.C. (1979). Maternal emotionality during pregnancy and reproductive outcome. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 2, 342-376.

Chalmers, B. (1981). Development of a life event scale for pregnant white South African women. South African Journal of Psychology, 11, 74-79.

Chalmers, B. (1983b). Types of life events and factors influencing their seriousness ratings. The Journal of Social Psychology, 121, 283-295.

Copher, D.E., & Huber, C.P. (1967). Heart rate response of the human fetus to induced maternal hypoxia. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 98, 320-335.

Cranley, M.S. (1981). Development of a tool for the measurement of maternal attachment during pregnancy. Nursing Research, 5, 281-284.

Daniëls, H., & Casaer, P. (1985). Development of arm posture during bottle feeding in preterm infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 8, 241-244.

Daniëls, H., Casaer, P., Devlieger, H., & Eggermont, E. (1984). Neonatal evaluation by nurses in a neonatal special care unit. Helvetica Paediatrica Acta, 39, 21-43.

Davids, A., Holden, R.H., & Gray, G. (1963). Maternal anxiety during pregnancy and adequacy of mother and child adjustment eight months following childbirth. Child Development, 34, 993-1002.

de Vries, J.I.P., Visser, G.H.A., & Prechtl, H.F.R. (1982). The emergence of fetal behaviour. I. Qualitative aspects. Early Human Development, 7, 301-322.

Dodge, J.A. (1972). Psychosomatic aspects of infantile pyloricstenose. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 16, 1-5.

Eskes, T.K.A.B. (1985). Verloskundige consequenties van niet verwerkte rouw over een perinataal gestorven kind. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 129, 433-436.

Fagley, N., Miller, P., & Sullivan, J. (1982). Stress, symptomproneness and general adaptational distress during pregnancy. Journal of Human Stress, 8, 15-22.

Farber, E.A., Vaughn, B., & Egeland, B. (1981). The relationship of prenatal maternal anxiety to infant behavior and mother-infant interactions during the first six months of life. Early Human Development, 5, 267-277.

Ferreira, A.J. (1960). The pregnant woman's emotional attitude and its reflection on the newborn. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 30, 553-561.

Ferreira, A.J. (1965). Emotional factors in prenatal environment. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 141, 108-118.

Field, T., Sandberg, D., Quetel, T.A., Garcia, R. & Rosario, M. (1985). Effects of ultrasound feedback on pregnancy anxiety, fetal activity and neonatal outcome. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 66, 525-528.

Iannuruberto, A., & Tajani, E. (1981). Ultrasonographic study of fetal movements. Seminars in Perinatology, 5, 175-181.

Istvan, J. (1986). Stress, anxiety, and birth outcome: a critical review of the evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 331-348.

Joreskog, K.G., & Sorbom. D. LISREL V. User's Guide. Chicago: National Educational Resources, 1981.

Keller, N. (1985). Relationship between social support and mothers' perceptions of the birth experience in the early postpartum period. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Alabama/Birmingham, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 117-B.

Kumar, R., Robson, K.M., & Smith, A.M.R. (1984). Development of a self-administered questionnaire to measure maternal adjustment and maternal attitudes during pregnancy and after delivery. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 28, 43-51.

McDonald, R.L. (1968). The role of emotional factors in obstetric complications. Psychosomatic Medicine, 30, 222-237.

Michaelis, R., Dopfer, R., Gerbig, W., Fellerdopfer, P., & Rohr, M. (1980). I. Die Erfassung obstetrischer und postnatale Risicofaktoren (lurch eine Liste optimaler Bedingungen. Monatsshrift fur Kinderheilkunde, 127, 149-155.

Montagu, A. (1962). Prenatal influences. Springfield: Charles Thomas.

Nijhuis, J.G., Prechtl, H.F.R., Martin, C.B., & Bots, R.S.G.M. Are there behavioral states in the human fetus? Early Human Development 6, 177-195.

Norbeck, J.S., Lindsey, A.M., & Carrieri, V.L. (1981). The development of an instrument to measure social support. Nursing Research, 30, 264-269.

Norbeck, J.S., Lindsey, A.M., & Carrieri, V.L. (1983). Further development of the Norbeck Support Questionnaire: notmative data and validity testing. Nursing Research, 32, 4-9.

Ottinger, D.R., & Simmons, E. (1964). Behavior of human neonates and prenatal maternal anxiety. Psychological Reports, 14, 391-394.

Prechtl, F.R.H. (1977). The neurological examination of the full-term newborn infant (Clinics in Developmental Medicine, N° 63). London: S.I.M.P./Heineman.

Prechtl, H.F.R. (1967). Neurological sequela of prenatal and perinatal complications. British Medical Journal, 4, 763-767.

Prechtl, H.F.R. (1980). The optimality concept. Early Human Development 4, 201-206.

Prechtl, H.F.R., & O'Brien, M.J. (1982). Behavioral states of the full-term newborn. The emergence of a concept. In P. Stratton (Ed.), Psychobiology of the human newborn (pp. 53-73). Chichester: J. Wiley & Sons.

Price, G.M. (1983). Sensitivity in mother-infant interaction: the AMIS scale. Infant Behavior and Development, 6, 353-360.

Schaefer, E.S., & Manheimer, H. (1960). Dimensions of perinatal adjustment. Paper presented at the Eastern psychological Association Convention, New York.

Sontag, L.W. (1941). The significance of fetal environmental differences. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 42, 996-1003.

Sontag, L.W. (1966). Implications of fetal behavior and environment for adult personalities. Annals New York Academy of Sciences, 134, 782-786.

Spielberger, C.D., Gorsuch, R.L., Lushene, R.B. (1970). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. California: Palo Alto, 1970.

Turner, E.K. (1956). The syndrome in the infant resulting from maternal emotional tension during pregnancy. The Medical Journal of Australia, 4, 221-222.

Van den Bergh, B. (1983). De psychische toestand van de zwangere en de prenatale ontwikkeling. Literatuurstudie en schets van een heuristisch model. Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogie, Kinderpsychiatrie en Kliinische Kinderpsychologie, 8(1), 18-37.

Van den Bergh, B.R.H. (1988). The relationship between maternal emotionality during pregnancy and the behavioral development of the fetus and neonatus. In P.G. Fedor-Freybergh and M.L.V. Vogel (Eds.), Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine (pp. 131-142). Carnforth (Lanes): Parthenon.

Van den Bergh, B.R.H., Mulder, E.J.H., Poelman-Weesjes, G, Bekedam, D.J., Visser, G.H.A. & Prechtl, H.F.R. (1989). The effect of (induced) maternal emotions on fetal behavior: a controlled study. Early Human Development, 19, 9-19.

Vaughn, B.E., Bradley, C.F., Joffe, L.S., Seifer, R., & Barglow (1987). Maternal characteristics measured prenatally are predictive of ratings of temperament "difficulty" on the Carey Temperament Questionnaire. Developmental Psychology, 23, 152-161.

Wilde, G.J.S. (1970). Neurotische labiliteit gemeten volgens de vragenlijstmethode. Amsterdam: Van Rossum.

Wolkind, S. (1981). Pre-natal emotional stress-effects on the fetus. In S. Wolkind & E. Zajiceck (Eds. Pregnancy: A psychological and social study (pp. 177-194). London: Academic Press.

Zimmer, E.Z., Divon, M.Y., Vilensky, A., Sarna, Z., Peretz, B.A. & Paldi, E. (1982). Maternal exposure to music and fetal activity. European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 13, 209-213.

B.R.H. Van den Bergh, Ph.D.

B.R.H. Van den Bergh has been located at the Center for Developmental Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, and has been a research Assistant at the National fund for Scientific Research (Belgium). Address correspondence to Orshagenstraat 15, 3100 Heist-op-den-berg, Belgium. Dr. Van den Bergh is now a Clinical psychologist in a children's rehabilitation center.

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

Join APPPAH for unlimited access to all journals.