Antenatal maternal depressive mood and parental–fetal attachment at the end of pregnancy

  • Louise SeimyrEmail author
  • Berit Sjögren
  • Barbara Welles-Nyström
  • Eva Nissen
Original Contribution


The present study investigates if mothers and fathers have similar ways of thinking and feeling about their babies during late pregnancy and how aspects of parental–fetal attachment are related to maternal depressive mood. Two hundred and ninety-eight Swedish-speaking women at 30–32 weeks of gestation and partners (n = 274) participated in the study. Socio-demographic background data were collected. Prenatal attachment was assessed with the maternal/paternal–fetal attachment scale (MFA/PFA), and depressive symptoms were assessed by the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS). MFA and PFA scores mirrored each other. After factor analysis, five different factors loaded somewhat differently for men were revealed as significant. These factors were (I) concerns about the fetus and health behavior, (II) mental preparation to take care of the unborn child, (III) experiences of pregnancy, (IV) experiences of fetal movements, and (V) naming of the baby. Factors III and IV were related to depressive symptoms. Mothers with slight depressive symptoms were somewhat less positive about the pregnancy but showed more attention to the fetal movements. Midwives should conduct interviews on the women’s psychosocial history and use validated instruments, which may help them to identify problems with the psychosocial health of the mother and her partner as they journey through pregnancy and transition to parenthood.


Maternal–fetal attachment Paternal–fetal attachment Depression Pregnancy 



The authors wish to thank the following institutions for their financial support: Centre for Caring Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, and the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research. The authors are most grateful to the project director for the longitudinal study, Wendela Lundh, and to Ann-Sofi Matthiesen for her statistical support. We also wish to thank the women and their partners who agreed to take part in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Seimyr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Berit Sjögren
    • 1
  • Barbara Welles-Nyström
    • 1
  • Eva Nissen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Woman and Child HealthKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.School of Life ScienceUniversity of SkovdeSkovdeSweden

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