Women's Birth Experience and Subsequent Infant Motor Development
ABSTRACT: Fifty-four (54) middle-income couples were followed from 6 months of pregnancy until 6 months postpartum. The couples' attitudes were assessed prenatally, observations were made at delivery along with an interview after delivery to assess the emotional quality of the couple's birth experience, and follow-up interviews and observations were made at 6 week intervals until 6 months postpartum to determine level of attachment to the infant. The motor development items of the Bay ley Scales of Infant Development were administered twice to each infant. Data was analyzed for the six component scales of motor development. Stepwise multiple regression analysis of the data showed that significant predictors of motor behavior included maternal attachment, time from delivery to initial feeding, mother's prenatal attitude, parity, paternal prenatal attitude, home environment for birth, quality of the father's birth experience, amount of analgesia or anesthesia administered, family income and combined maternal and paternal attachment ratings. These findings are discussed with reference to theories of parent-infant bonding and its relation to motor development.
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Lewis E. Mehl, M.D., Ph.D.
Address correspondence to the author at Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Given Bldg., Room A-111, Burlington, VT 05401, USA.