Mothers delivering babies naturally bond more

September 19th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) Women delivering babies naturally bond more lovingly with them than those who do so by caeserean surgery, according to a study.Researchers led by Yale University Child Study Centre Assistant Professor James Swain recruited two groups of parents from post birth wards.

One group of 12 mothers belonged to the caeserean section and the other delivered vaginally. All women were interviewed and given brain scans two to three weeks after birth.

During brain scans, parents listened to recordings of their baby’s cry during discomfort of a diaper change. The researchers then conducted interviews to assess the mothers’ mood as well as their thoughts and parenting.

The team found that compared to mothers who delivered by caeserean, those who delivered naturally had greater activity in certain brain regions in response to their own baby’s cry.

These brain areas included cortical regions that regulate emotions and empathy, as well as deeper brain structures that contribute to motivation, and habitual thoughts and behaviours. The responses to their own baby’s cry in some of these regions varied according to mood and anxiety.

Swain said that no parent in the small study developed clinical depression, making it hard to assess the significance of the findings without replication and follow-up studies, reports Eurekalert.

“I suspect that the parental brain is ‘primed’ by vaginal delivery and affected by neurohormonal factors such as oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional connections and feelings of love.

“These results provoke many questions and may help expectant mothers as they consider their options carefully,” said Swain.

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