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Study: Link Between Mother’s Bond and Delivery Type

A study published in the October issue of Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry by Yale School of Medicine researchers indicates that mothers who deliver their baby vaginally are more strongly bonded to their newborn than a mother who deliver via cesarean section.

The researchers performed brain scans on the mothers while they listened to their baby crying during a diaper change. The mothers who delivered vaginally were found (via fMRI) to have more activity in the area of the brain that regulates emotion and empathy. The researchers believe this is an indication that the process of a vaginal birth somehow “primes” the woman’s brain for becoming a mother.

While the intent of the article and its publication was to encourage women to consider vaginal births in light of recent trends towards planned c-sections, I feel that the results are questionable at best. Brain activity in the area that regulates empathy does not make a bond with a child; being a mother to the child, caring for the baby and feeding him or her creates a bond.

No mention was made as to the feeding methods for the babies. Were they all breastfed? All bottle fed? Nor was their daily care situation discussed. What percentage were at home with their baby all day? What percentage were working and left the baby with a caregiver? And how many of them had a partner to assist them in the parenting process versus those who were single mothers? All of these details can impact how a mother bonds with her baby. Ignoring them completely makes the results suspect, at best.

Source: Natural Childbirth Linked to Stronger Baby Bonding Than C-Sections via Health News Digest


You can read more SciFi Dad at Tales From The Dad Side.


Guest

[…] If I have a c-section will I still bond with my baby? […]

Guest

[…] came my turn. I really wanted to go for the natural way, what with this talk (and research studies!) about bonding and feeling of fulfillment. However, my doctors (yes, there were several of them) […]

Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Unfortunately, I don’t have a vaginal birth experience to compare my breastfeeding/bonding experiences to, however, I can say without a doubt that after my c-section, I felt super connected and bonded with my daughter. I don’t feel that having a c-section affected my ability to bond at all. AND I had a really difficult recovery on top of that, yet I still felt as bonded and as in love as ever!

Guest
LJK
7 years 8 months ago
As a mother of three children, two of which were delivered via c-section, I can state without a shadow of a doubt that I bonded with all my children during my pregnancies. I talked to my belly and so did my husband. The instant that I (vaginally) delivered my son, we were connected, that same connection, bond was there when I had my daughter and son via c-section. I loved and bonded my children long before I ever held them. However the second they were in my arms I know that I would never let them go. It’s not how… Read more »
Member
7 years 8 months ago

This sort of study, where causation isn’t concretely proven but presented as such is so misleading. Just making moms feel more guilty. Ugh.

Member
7 years 8 months ago
I don’t think the study is implying that women who had to have emergency c-sections are ‘shortchanging’ themselves OR their baby. Thank God for medical technology that is able to save many women and their babies who may not survive if natural childbirth was the only choice. However, for women WITH a choice, I believe the study *is* a compelling reason to at least try for a natural birth rather than scheduling a c-section for *no medical reason*. (THAT is the key…) It makes physiological sense–natural oxytocin is a feel-good hormone that promotes *bonding.* Another study showed that baby’s born… Read more »
Guest
Melissa H
7 years 8 months ago

I couldn’t agree with you more. As a mother who delivered via C-section does that mean that I am somehow less bonded with the child that I have breastfed for ten months and that I love more than my own life itself. I would find it hard to believe that I could possibly be more bonded with my child simply because I had a vaginal birth. Perhaps they should save the surveys for something that can really have an impact on life. I didn’t have a choice in my C-section so somehow I am short changing my daughter. PLEASE!

Guest
7 years 8 months ago
I can see how some of this could ring true, but I agree with you that a lot of other factors could be missing or need to be examined as well. I had an unplanned emergency c-section with my son back in April and for the first couple of weeks he was home, though I loved him immensely, I kept waiting to feel this intense emotional bond that my mother friends told me they felt for their children. It happened slowly, I think, as one day I just realized that I would do anything for this little baby and couldn’t… Read more »
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