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J Assoc Acad Minor Phys. 1995;6(3):112-4.

Decreased maternal-fetal attachment in methadone-maintained pregnant women: a preliminary study.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.


Maternal-fetal attachment represents the mother's affiliation and interaction with her unborn fetus. It develops during pregnancy and may be critical to successful mother-infant adaptation. The purpose of this study was to investigate maternal-fetal attachment in methadone-maintained pregnant women. We studied a cross-sectional sample of women (n = 67), 15 to 35 years of age, with uncomplicated, singleton pregnancies, at 28 to 37 weeks of gestation. The study population comprised two groups: group 1 consisted of 17 women enrolled in a substance abuse program who were using methadone, 40 to 80 mg a day, for a period of more than 3 months; group 2 included 50 women with no history of substance abuse. The Cranley 24-item scale was used as a measure of maternal-fetal attachment. Methadone-maintained pregnant women had diminished maternal-fetal attachment scores compared with controls (P < .05). This may be attributed to methadone use or to behavior characteristics of women with substance abuse. In either case, decreased maternal-fetal attachment may conceivably reduce women's compliance with prenatal health care, interfere with maternal adjustment during pregnancy, and/or have negative long-term effects on mother-child attachment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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