What do we know about maternal-fetal attachment?

C. Shieh, M. Kravitz, H. H. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A review of the literature suggests that there are three critical attributes related to the concept of maternal-fetal attachment, including cognitive, affective, and altruistic attachment. Cognitive attachment is the desire to know the baby. Affective attachment is the pleasure associated with thoughts of or interaction with the fetus. Altruistic attachment refers to a desire to protect the unborn child. Existing measurements on maternal-fetal attachment are developed based on low-risk and white pregnant women and previous research has not yet resulted in a consistent theoretical model. Future research should focus on development of culturally sensitive instruments and combining qualitative and quantitative measures to broaden theoretical understanding of the concept. Nursing assessment of maternal-fetal attachment is an on-going process. The nurse's role is to reassure those who have developed attachment to their fetuses and to motivate those who are unaware of or unconcerned about their attachment to their fetuses. Collecting data from different attributes of attachment helps nurses identify each woman's attachment patterns and areas of concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-454
Number of pages7
JournalThe Kaohsiung journal of medical sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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