Objective: To evaluate the effect of haptotherapy during pregnancy on mother-child bonding (MCB). Population or Sample: Primigravida and multigravida (N = 73). Methods: Data were obtained from a randomized controlled trial study on treatment for severe fear of childbirth with haptotherapy. Fear of Childbirth (FOC) was evaluated using the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ) and mother-child bonding (MCB) by an online version of the Pictorial Representation of Attachment Measure (PRAM). Screen-positive women for severe FOC were randomly assigned either to a haptotherapy (HT) arm or a no-haptotherapy (No-HT) arm (psycho-education via internet or care as usual). In this group, a median split was carried out on the PRAM to allow focusing on the women with the 50% poorest MCB levels. Measurements were on four occasions: (T1) 20-24 weeks of gestation, (T2) 36 weeks of gestation, (T3) 6 weeks postpartum, and (T4) 6 months postpartum. Repeated measurements ANOVA was carried out on the basis of the as-treated principle. Main Outcome Measures: MCB measured with the PRAM across two measurement occasions T1 and T4. Results: In the group of women with high MCB, we found no statistically significant difference in the mean PRAM change scores between the HT arm and the no HT-arm, F(3, 69) = 2.009, p = .121. However, in the group of women with low MCB, women in the HT arm showed a statistically significant greater improvement of mother-child bonding than in the no-HT, F(3, 69) = 2.877, p = .042.
Conclusion: Haptotherapy during pregnancy can statistically significantly increase mother-child bonding in women with a high fear of childbirth and a poor MCB as compared with psycho-education via internet or care as usual.
Keywords: Haptotherapy, pregnant women, mother-child bonding
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