Title: "Expectant Parents": Study protocol of a longitudinal study concerning prenatal (risk) factors and postnatal infant development, parenting, and parent-infant relationships
Authors: Maas, A. Janneke B. M
Vreeswijk, Charlotte M. J. M
de Cock, Evi S. A
Rijk, Kathinka
van Bakel, Hedwig J. A # ×
Issue Date: 11-Jun-2012
Publisher: BioMed Central
Series Title: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth vol:12 issue:46 pages:1-8
Abstract: Background: While the importance of the infant-parent relationship from the child’s perspective is acknowledged
worldwide, there is still a lack of knowledge about predictors and long-term benefits or consequences of the
quality of parent-infant relationships from the parent’s perspective. The purpose of this prospective study is to
investigate the quality of parent-infant relationships from parents’ perspectives, both in the prenatal and
postpartum period. This study therefore focuses on prenatal (risk) factors that may influence the quality of pre- and
postnatal bonding, the transition to parenthood, and bonding as a process within families with young children. In
contrast to most research concerning pregnancy and infant development, not only the roles and experiences of mothers during pregnancy and the first two years of infants’ lives are studied, but also those of fathers.
Methods/design: The present study is a prospective longitudinal cohort study, in which pregnant women
(N = 466) and their partners (N = 319) are followed from 15 weeks gestation until their child is 24 months old. During pregnancy, midwives register the presence of prenatal risk factors and provide obstetric information after the child’s birth. Parental characteristics are investigated using self-report questionnaires at 15, 26, and 36 weeks gestational age and at 4, 6, 12, and 24 months postpartum. At 26 weeks of pregnancy and at 6 months postpartum, parents are interviewed concerning their representations of the (unborn) child. At 6 months postpartum, the mother-child interaction is observed in several situations within the home setting. When children are 4, 6, 12, and 24 months old, parents also completed questionnaires concerning the child’s (social-emotional) development and the parent-child relationship. Additionally, at 12 months information about the child’s physical development and well-being during the first year of life is retrieved from National Health Care Centres.
Discussion: The results of this study may contribute to early identification of families at risk for adverse parentinfant relationships, infant development, or parenting. Thereby this study will be relevant for the development of policy, practice, and theory concerning infant mental health.
ISSN: 1471-2393
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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