Maternal prenatal attachment during the COVID-19 pandemic: exploring the roles of pregnancy-related anxiety, risk perception, and well-being

Akdağ B., Erdem D., Bektaş M., Yardımcı F.

ARCHIVES OF WOMENS MENTAL HEALTH, no.5, pp.651-658, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00737-023-01343-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, Index Islamicus, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.651-658
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Pregnant women, Prenatal attachment, Risk perception, Well-being
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Pregnant women have faced novel physical and mental health risks during the pandemic. This situation is remarkable because a parent's emotional bond with their unborn baby (also known as prenatal attachment) is related to the parent's mental state. Prenatal attachment helps parents psychologically prepare for the transition into parenthood. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in the future parentchild relationship and psychosocial development of the baby. Based on the available literature, the current study integrated risk perception theories with mental health indicators to examine maternal prenatal attachment during the pandemic. Pregnant women (n = 258) completed the Pregnancy-Related Anxiety Questionnaire-Revision 2 (PRAQ-R2), the WHO Well-being Index (WHO-5), the Prenatal Attachment Inventory (PAI), and answered questions about COVID-19 risk perception. The findings illustrated that pregnancy-related anxiety was positively associated with maternal prenatal attachment. Moreover, COVID-19 risk perception and well-being mediated this relationship. In other words, the higher levels of pregnancy-related anxiety were associated with increased COVID-19 risk perception and decreased well-being, inhibiting prenatal attachment in pregnant women. Considering the importance of prenatal attachment, it is crucial to understand the experiences of pregnant women and develop policies for promoting prenatal attachment, especially during challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.