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J Fam Psychol. 2006 Dec;20(4):670-9.

Ante- and perinatal factors and child characteristics predicting parenting experience among formerly infertile couples during the child's first year: a controlled study.

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Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


In this prospective controlled study, the authors examined (a) parenting experiences among couples with successful assisted reproduction treatment (ART; n = 367) and fertile spontaneously conceiving controls (n = 371) and (b) the impact of ante- and perinatal factors and child characteristics on parenting experiences. The results show that positive mothering experiences increased more during the 1st year of parenting and were generally higher among ART mothers than control mothers. No differences were found between ART fathers and controls in their fathering experience. Unpleasant birth experiences, low birth weight, and difficulty soothing the child were associated with high levels of parental stress in the control group, but this was not so among the ART parents. Psychosocial interventions in maternal care should take into account the various meanings that couples give to the history of infertility and conception and ante- and perinatal experiences.

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