Skin-to-skin contact and infant emotional and cognitive development in chronic perinatal distress
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Objective: We examined whether the timing of maternal-neonate skin-to-skin contact (SSC) predicts infant emotional and cognitive development in the context of chronic maternal perinatal stress and depressive symptoms. Study design: This secondary analysis included data from a group-based prenatal care clinical trial for 37 pregnant women with low household income. Mothers completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) during the third trimester and postpartum. After birth, they reported timing of SSC, and completed the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised Very Short Form (IBQ-R VSF) (M = 51.7 weeks, SD = 4.2). Increased PSS or CES-D score from the third trimester to post-birth indicates chronic maternal perinatal stress or depressive symptoms compared to a decrease or no change. Using hierarchical regression models, we examined if the timing of SSC makes a unique contribution in predicting infant outcomes in the context of chronic maternal perinatal stress and depressive symptoms. Results: Stress-exposed infants had less negative emotionality if SSC is provided immediately after delivery, less than 10 min after birth. The effect of SSC on effortful control in relation to chronic perinatal stress was not statistically significant. The impact of timing of SSC on negative emotionality or effortful control in relation to chronic perinatal depressive symptoms was not statistically significant. Conclusion: This work implies that very early SSC may play a role in later infant emotion regulation process and could act as a protective factor in chronically stressed pregnant women.
SourceEarly Human Development
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