Does haptotherapy benefit mother-child bonding in women with high fear of childbirth?

G.A. Klabbers*, K.M. Paarlberg, A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


To evaluate the effect of haptotherapy during pregnancy on mother-child bonding (MCB).

Population or sample:
Primigravida and multigravida (N = 73). Methods: Data were obtained from a randomized controlled trial study on treatment for severe fear of childbirth with haptotherapy. Fear of Childbirth (FOC) was evaluated using the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ) and mother-child bonding (MCB) by an online version of the Pictorial Representation of Attachment Measure (PRAM). Screen-positive women for severe FOC were randomly assigned either to a haptotherapy (HT) arm or a no-haptotherapy (No-HT) arm (psycho-education via internet or care as usual). In this group, a median split was carried out on the PRAM to allow focusing on the women with the 50% poorest MCB levels. Measurements were on four occasions: (T1) 20-24 weeks of gestation, (T2) 36 weeks of gestation, (T3) 6 weeks postpartum, and (T4) 6 months postpartum. Repeated measurements ANOVA was carried out on the basis of the as-treated principle.

Main outcome measures:
MCB measured with the PRAM across two measurement occasions T1 and T4.

In the group of women with high MCB, we found no statistically significant difference in the mean PRAM change scores between the HT arm and the no HT-arm, F(3, 69) = 2.009, p = .121. However, in the group of women with low MCB, women in the HT arm showed a statistically significant greater improvement of mother-child bonding than in the no-HT, F(3, 69) = 2.877, p = .042.

Haptotherapy during pregnancy can statistically significantly increase mother-child bonding in women with a high fear of childbirth and a poor MCB as compared with psycho-education via internet or care as usual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalInternational Journal of Haptonomy & Haptotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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