Maternal-fetal relationships and psychological health: Emerging research directions

Judi Walsh, Erica G. Hepper, Sophie R. Bagge, Franziska Wadephul, Julie Jomeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal representations of, and relationships with, the unborn baby appear to be associated with psychological health in pregnancy and beyond, and might play an important role in identifying women who need additional support, as well as providing an arena to develop positive pregnancy experiences. The mechanisms and pathways linking maternal–fetal relationships, psychological health and important outcomes are complex. This article provides an overview of some of the key findings in this area and identifies some important emerging directions for future research: the nature and form of maternal–fetal relationships and how best to measure them, the mediating and moderating factors linking maternal–fetal relationships with psychological health and other outcomes in pregnancy and beyond, and the importance and acceptability of the concept of maternal–fetal relationships to women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-499
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date8 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • prenatal attachment
  • antenatal attachment
  • bonding
  • psychological health
  • parenting

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