Does offering and performing prenatal screening influence women's attachment to their unborn child? A longitudinal randomized controlled trial

Johanna H. Kleinveld, Daniëlle R.M. Timmermans, Matthijs Van Den Berg, Jacques Th M. Van Eijk, Leo P. Ten Kate

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The question addressed was: Does offering prenatal screening and receiving a negative screening outcome influence women's attachment to their unborn child? Methods: Women were offered a nuchal translucency measurement, maternal serum screening, or no screening at all in a randomized controlled trial. Attachment was measured by a self-developed questionnaire at four points in time: before screening was offered, after the offer, after receiving the negative screening result (or at comparable points in time) and in the last trimester of pregnancy. In the last trimester, the Prenatal Attachment Inventory was also filled in. Results: Women who had been offered screening (n = 1031) showed more attachment (F(1,1415) = 19.42, p < .001) compared to women who had not been offered screening (n = 387). This difference disappeared later in pregnancy. At all points in time, negatively screened women (n = 466) had equal levels of attachment compared to screening decliners (n = 565). No difference was observed between women who received a negative result of the ultrasound screening (n = 285) as compared to the blood screening (n = 162). Conclusion: Offering prenatal screening seems to temporarily increase attachment. However, this difference is very small. Attachment is not influenced by whether a blood screening or an ultrasound screening is performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-764
Number of pages8
JournalPrenatal diagnosis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007


  • Bonding
  • Prenatal attachment
  • Prenatal attachment inventory
  • Prenatal screening

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