Birth Experience Mediates the Association Between Fear of Childbirth and Mother-Child-Bonding Up to 14 Months Postpartum: Findings From the Prospective Cohort Study DREAM

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


Objective: To explore the longitudinal associations between prepartum fear of childbirth (FOC), birth experience, and postpartum mother-child-bonding, and the potential mediator role of the birth experience. Design: Women from the prospective cohort study DREAM completed questionnaires during pregnancy, 8 weeks, and 14 months after the birth. Participants: A community sample of n = 645 pregnant women from a large city in Eastern Germany participated in the study. Results: In a regression analysis, FOC predicted negative birth experience (β = 0.208, p < 0.001) which in turn predicted poorer mother-child-bonding both at 8 weeks (β = 0.312, p < 0.001) and 14 months postpartum (β = 0.200, p < 0.001). FOC also predicted mother-child-bonding at 14 months postpartum (β = 0.098, p < 0.05). Of note, this association was mediated by birth experience both at 8 weeks, indirect effect ab = 0.065, 95% CI [0.036, 0.098], and 14 months postpartum, indirect effect ab = 0.043, 95% CI [0.023, 0.067]. These effects remained stable even when adjusting for potential confounders. Key Conclusions: This study suggests that the association between FOC and mother-child-bonding is mediated by birth experience, pointing to the importance of a woman's positive subjective experience. Implications for Practice: Findings reveal two targets for peripartum interventions for women at risk for poor mother-child-bonding, namely the implementation of FOC screenings during pregnancy, and birth experience as mediating factor between FOC and mother-child-bonding. Focusing on the mother's subjective birth experience could aid to identify women at risk for impaired bonding who might need additional support.


Seiten (von - bis)776922-776922
FachzeitschriftFrontiers in psychiatry
Frühes Online-Datum20 Jan. 2022
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 20 Jan. 2022

Externe IDs

Scopus 85124088585
WOSLite 000750606700001
unpaywall 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.776922
Mendeley 73cb990e-12b9-3cd5-96e7-ab90f79a888f


Forschungsprofillinien der TU Dresden

    ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


      • childbirth experience, DREAM study, fear of childbirth, mediation analysis, mother-child-bonding, pregnancy