Aim: Prenatal education courses (PEC) are a way of allaying anxiety in pregnancy. PEC consist of a series of five 1-hour lessons in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Conducted by nurses or midwives, the course syllabus includes the basics of fetal physiology and development, singing sessions, dance sessions, massage-through-the-womb sessions. Here we investigated whether they can enhance feto-maternal bonding.
Methods: We studied 77 pregnant women (mean age: 31.5+/-4.1 years), 36 of whom attended PEC. We used the Prenatal Attachment Inventory (PAI), a validated 21-item questionnaire, to score prenatal bonding and compared the scores of the two groups. Three months after delivery, we asked the mothers to fill in another questionnaire to assess infant and maternal well-being.
Results: The PEC group showed a higher PAI score than the control group (65.5+/-6.9 vs. 59.9+/-6.1; P<0.05). Babies born to the PEC group had a higher frequency of unexplained crying.
Conclusion: PEC positively influenced prenatal attachment. More studies are needed to assess whether this may be useful for the development of the mother-infant relationship.