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Early Connections Last a Lifetime: Four Programs Focused on Supporting Prenatal Attachment

Rebecca Parlakian and Kathy Kinsner

Abstract

This article reviews the research base on the development of prenatal attachment and profiles four programs that foster this essential prenatal relationship: CenteringPregnancy®, the Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting program (PREPP), Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), and Moms2B.

While many people may understand prenatal attachment intuitively—expectant parents responding to fetal movements, attributing individual personal qualities to the growing fetus, engaging in nurturing, health-positive behaviors to support a healthy pregnancy—the elements of prenatal attachment are still being mapped by research. Understanding the currently known risk and protective factors contributing to prenatal attachment can help to maximize healthy outcomes for both mother and baby, both in the short-term and across the lifespan. Here, we provide a brief introduction to prenatal attachment and profile four programs that have intentionally and thoughtfully designed services for expectant families that nurture this critical, sometimes fragile, growing relationship between parent and fetus.

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