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Early Intervention To Support Parenting During Pregnancy: Improving Parent-Child Interactions

Mami Sonobe, Masami Usui, Taiko Hirose
Published 2018 · Medicine
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Background: Most first parents experience childbirth with little preparation for child-rearing after birth. However, after childbirth, parents often have a hard time coping with night-time feeding or baby’s crying. This study seeks to evaluate the effects of an intervention class providing parenting support during pregnancy. The program focuses on mother-infant interaction. Methods: Participants were primipara pregnant women attending a birth center. The intervention class was offered as an addition to maternity classes. The intervention addressed fetal development, mother-newborn interaction, baby’s sleeping and waking states, baby’s self-regulation, and infant cues. The intervention group answered questionnaires containing a Prenatal Attachment Inventory (PAI) and Nurturance scales before and after the additional class; the control group answered questionnaires in the third or fourth regular maternity class. Mothers in both groups were also asked to complete a postnatal questionnaire, Maternal Attachment Inventory (MAI), and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Results: The intervention group included 12 primiparas (initially 13), and the control group included 12 primiparas. There was no difference in baseline (Time 1) data between the intervention group and control group, nor differences in MAI and EPDS scores postnatally (Time 3). However, the PAI score increased significantly after the intervention class (Time 2) in the intervention group. The Nurturance subordinate scale “Acceptance” also increased for the intervention group between Time 1 and Time 2. Conclusion: The early intervention parenting support class considered herein enhances attachment to the baby and acceptance in the short term, but there is no long-term effect. The implementation of multiple interventions and exploration of long-term effects are future challenges.
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