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Early Hum Dev. 2008 Sep;84(9):587-94. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2008.02.002. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

How is maternal recollection of the birth experience related to the behavioral and emotional outcome of preterm infants?

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Department of Child Psychiatry, Tampere University Hospital and University of Tampere, Finland.



To investigate how mother's recollections of birth experiences and first contact with the newborn relate to the child's behavioral and emotional problems at five to six years of age.


The study included 28 mothers of preterm (birth weight < or =2500 g) and 39 mothers of full-term children, born in Tampere University Hospital in 1998. When the children were five to six years old, maternal recollections of the birth experiences were assessed using the Clinical Interview for Parents of High-Risk Infants (CLIP) and children's behavioral and emotional problems were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).


Mothers of the preterm children still had more negative recollections of the labor (p < 0.001) and first contact with the newborn (p < 0.001) than mothers of the full-term children. These recollections related to the child's behavioral and emotional symptoms when the child was five to six years old in the preterm group but not in the full-term group.


The impact of mother's birth experience seems to have long-lasting effects on the preterm child. This finding emphasizes the importance of early physical mother-infant contact and supporting the mothers of preterm infants, especially if they articulate negative or traumatic experiences related to the birth of their child.

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