Maternal mental health over the course of 4 years following childbirth: The contribution of birth circumstances and psycho-social factors

Ginna Porat-Zyman, Orit Taubman-Ben-Ari, Iris Morag, Jacob Kuint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study is to identify mothers at risk for poorer maternal mental health (MMH) 1 month post-partum and to determine changes in MMH over 4 years in relation to birth circumstances (singleton/twins, full-term/pre-term infant/s, first/non-first child), internal resources (adult attachment styles), and external resources (marital quality and maternal grandmother’s support) at 1 month post-partum. The mediating effects of external resources were also investigated. Questionnaires were completed between 2001 and 2012 by 561 Israeli mothers. Shortly after birth, mothers at risk for poorer MMH were those who gave birth prematurely or were characterized by insecure attachment styles, lower marital quality, younger age, or a higher level of education. The mothers with a good prognosis for improvement in MMH were those who had given birth prematurely or were younger, more highly educated, or multiparous. Women with insecure attachment or lower marital quality reported lower MMH one month after delivery that did not improve over time, and the MMH of older or less educated mothers deteriorated over time. Marital quality mitigated or exacerbated the effects of birth circumstances and insecure attachment style on MMH shortly after giving birth. Findings suggested that early interventions may be important to help identify women at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-91
Number of pages20
JournalWomen and Health
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Attachment styles
  • birth outcomes
  • marital quality
  • maternal mental health
  • social support

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