Objective: Negative birth experiences are associated with postpartum mental health difficulties in parents. However, research considering the long-term impact of a negative birth experience on parent-child-bonding and the interdependence between parents is rare. This study aimed to investigate actor as well as partner effects for the association between parents’ birth experience and parent-child-bonding and whether this association is mediated by postpartum psychiatric symptoms. Method: A community sample of couples (N = 743) completed questionnaires during pregnancy, 2, and 14 months after birth. Results: Applying Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Models, structural equation modeling showed that parents’ own negative birth experience predicted a poorer bond to their child 14 months postpartum. Compared to mothers, this association was twice as strong for partners and was mediated by symptoms of postpartum depression (mothers and partners), anxiety (partners), and childbirth-related posttraumatic stress disorder (mothers). Negative birth experiences of one parent were not related to the other parent's bonding with the child. Conclusion: Results underline the importance of parents’ positive birth experience for their postpartum mental health and secure bond to their child. The other parent's birth experience or postpartum mental health does not seem to affect one's own bond to the child in the long term.
|Journal of Anxiety Disorders
|Published - Jul 2023
Research priority areas of TU Dresden
Sustainable Development Goals
- Birth experience, DREAM study, Dyadic analysis, Parent-child-bonding, Postpartum