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The first post partum hour: a descriptive study of the activities of the newborn, the mother, the father, and their interaction
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
1990 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of the present study is to examine the absolute first contact between the newborn and its parents during the time that the infant is lying on its mother's chest and abdomen immediately after birth. This examination is done in two ways: by seeing (observing) the first contact between the newborn and its parents. Hie activities of the infants, the mothers, the fathers, and their interaction have been observed, described, and analysed; and by hearing (listening to) how the parents verbalize the process of giving birth to and having a child. Another aim of this study is to test the theory of the normal autistic phase, which Margaret S. Mahler et al (1975) has theorized. In order to accomplish these aims, videotape recordings were made of twelve newborns and their parents starting immediately after the infant was delivered and the midwife had placed it on its mother's chest and abdomen. Later, these videotapes were systematically analysed. All the infants were very active and also remarkably bright and lively directly after birth. Most of them became relatively calm when they were placed on the mother's chest and it seemed as if they were carefully trying to adapt themselves to their new surroundings. Hie infants varied as to degree of activity, but all infants followed a strict process of development during their first hour of life, which consisted of the following stages: birth cry, rest/passivity, awakening/eye-to-eye-contact, mouth movements, crawling movements, grasping movements, seeking movements and finally sucking its mother's breast. Hie interaction between the newborn and its parents started immediately after delivery. Hie most common and clear response of the newborn infant to the parents' activities was direct reactions to touch. When the infant cried or whimpered the parents tried to comfort or help it in various ways, for example the mother rocked and cradled the infant or answered it with baby-talk, other sounds or words. The mother and the father sometimes tried to verbalize the infant's cry or whimpering by talking for the infant. The processes of the newborn and their parents were mutual and parallel. This early non-verbal interaction between the newborn infant and its parents could in psychological terms be named an early "coining" or emotional imprinting, in which both the infant and the parents confirm each other. The newborns own capacity of intentionality and early interaction through movements and sounds contradicts a normal autistic phase, in Mahler's full sense of the word, during these infants' first hour of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 1990. , 79 p.
Series
DAPS-report, ISSN 0349-6554 ; 33
Keyword [en]
Birth, Newborn, Infant-parents, Interaction, Intentionality, Margaret S. Mahler's theory of the normal autistic phase
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61650OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-61650DiVA: diva2:571279
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2013-03-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The first hour of life: description of the early reciprocal interaction : mother-infant behaviour and development of their mutual relationship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The first hour of life: description of the early reciprocal interaction : mother-infant behaviour and development of their mutual relationship
1990 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The immediate post partum period may be particularly important for the developing relationship between mother and infant. This report consists of two studies: the first study (paper I) gives descriptions of the interaction between infants and their parents during the first hour post partum and the second study (papers II-IV) in this report examines the effect of extra contact during the first hour following delivery.

In the first, descriptive study, the study group consisted of 12 families, who were videotaped immediately after the birth of their infant. The aims of this study were to examine the absolute first contact between the newborn and its parents and to test Mahler's theory (1975) of the normal autistic phase. The videotapes were analysed by independent observers, who have examined the activities of the infants, the mothers, and the fathers with special emphasis on interaction. The typical process of activity development is presented and commented on and one case study is described in detail as an example (in Swedish in Appendix IV of paper I). The newborn's own capacity of intentionality and interaction through movements and sounds gives the mother a feeling of being the person who is sought by the infant during the first post partum hour. As this typical process is one of activity and of non-verbal interaction, it seems more appropriate to call this period a turning point phase or a phase of reciprocal adjustment immediately after delivery rather than a normal autistic phase as it was termed by Mahler.

In the second, longitudinal, prospective study, an extra naked skin-to-skin contact and suckling contact, during 15-20 minutes during the first hour post partum, was given to 22 primiparous mothers and their infants (P+ group). A control group of 20 primiparous mothers and their infants received routine care immediately after delivery (P group). The aim of the study was to examine what possible influence extra contact, in contrast to routine care, might have on the behaviour of mother and infant and on the development of their mutual relationship, also taking the sex of the infant into account. Follow-up studies were made at 36 hours, 3 months, 1 year, and 3 years after the birth of each infant. In this thesis the results of the 1-year and 3-year follow-up studies are included, both presenting main effects between the experimental group and the control group and effects in relation to boys and girls. The results of this study are discussed to some extent in relation to Mahler's theory of symbiosis and individuation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 1990. 112 p.
Keyword
First hour post partum, mother-infant behaviour, early interaction between mother and infant, observations, development, follow-up, Mahler's theory of symbiosis and individuation
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66901 (URN)91-7174-503-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
1990-10-05, Humanisthuset, hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:15
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2013-03-06 Created: 2013-03-06 Last updated: 2013-03-06Bibliographically approved

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