Prenatal attachment and associated factors during the third trimester of pregnancy in Temuco, Chile

Midwifery. 2012 Oct;28(5):e689-96. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2011.08.015. Epub 2011 Sep 28.


Objective: to estimate the prevalence of poorer prenatal attachment and its association with psycho-affective factors in pregnant women during the third trimester.

Design and setting: cross-sectional study in Temuco, La Araucanía Region, Chile.

Measurements: data were collected by structured interview with closed questions for the sociodemographic characterisation of the sample and measurement of six aspects: prenatal attachment, perceived stress, depression, perception of relationship with partner, subjective family support, and obstetric information regarding current and previous pregnancies.

Participants: 244 pregnant women selected by stratified random sampling in all centres (n=5) of the public health system in Temuco, Chile, with proportional allocation.

Findings: the prevalence of poorer prenatal attachment was 24.3% (95% confidence interval 19-30%), and this was found to be associated with discontent with the pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy, higher levels of perceived stress, depression and low family support. Religious activity and work were found to modulate the association between poorer prenatal attachment and psycho-affective aspects. The percentage of unplanned pregnancies was high in this study (61.35), and although this does not have a direct influence on poorer prenatal attachment, it is associated with discontent with the pregnancy and unwanted pregnancy.

Key conclusions and implications for practice: the high proportion of poorer prenatal attachment during the third trimester of pregnancy associated with potentially detectable psychosocial factors means that early diagnosis and timely intervention during prenatal care are an essential challenge for midwives in their work. Any progress that can be made during pregnancy will favour the development of the bonding experience after birth, and thus the balanced development of the child.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chile
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third / psychology*
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / psychology
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult