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The first hour of life: description of the early reciprocal interaction : mother-infant behaviour and development of their mutual relationship
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66901ISBN: 91-7174-503-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-66901DiVA: diva2:609692
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
List of papers
1. The first post partum hour: a descriptive study of the activities of the newborn, the mother, the father, and their interaction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The first post partum hour: a descriptive study of the activities of the newborn, the mother, the father, and their interaction
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
Birth, Newborn, Infant-parents, Interaction, Intentionality, Margaret S. Mahler's theory of the normal autistic phase
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61650 (URN)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2013-03-06Bibliographically approved
2. Long-term effects on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour postpartum:  IV. Study design and methods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Long-term effects on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour postpartum:  IV. Study design and methods
1982 (English)In: The Child In His Family: Children in Turmoil: Tomorrow's Parents, Vol. 7 / [ed] Elwyn James Anthony & Colette Chiland, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982, 105-128 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982
Series
Yearbook of the International association for child psychiatry and allied professions, ISSN 0277-6790 ; 7
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66900 (URN)0-471-86873-6 (ISBN)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2013-03-06 Created: 2013-03-06 Last updated: 2013-03-06Bibliographically approved
3. Long-term effect on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour post partum: III. Follw-up at one year
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Long-term effect on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour post partum: III. Follw-up at one year
1984 (English)In: Scandinavian journal of social medicine, ISSN 1403-4948 Print; 1651-1905 Online, Vol. 12, no 2, 91-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present prospective study examined, one year after delivery, the possible effects of early extra contact during the first hour following delivery. An extra skin-to-skin contact and suckling contact was allowed 22 primiparous mothers and their infants (P+ group). One control group of 20 primiparous mothers and their infants were given routine care immediately after birth (P group). During observation of a physical examination of the infant, ‘extra contact mothers’ held and touched their infants more frequently and more often talked positively to their infants than did mothers given routine care. ‘Extra contact mothers’ had returned to their professional employment outside the home to a lesser extent than had routine care mothers. A greater proportion of ‘extra contact’ infants slept in a room of their own. In the P+ group, mothers who had returned to gainful employment were also able to have their babies sleep in a room of their own—no such correspondence was found in the P group. The Gesell Developmental Schedules revealed that, in four parts out of five, infants with extra contact immediately after birth, were ahead of those in the control group. On the other hand, the Vineland Social Maturity Scale and the Cesarec Marke Personality Scheme did not reveal any major differences between the two groups. Mothers with early extra skin-to-skin contact and suckling contact breast-fed their infants on an average for 2 1/2 months longer than did routine care mothers. No other differences in feeding habits were found. The influence of extra contact was more pronounced in boy–mother than in girl–mother pairs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Associations of Public Health in the Nordic Countries Regions, 1984
Keyword
Mother–infant behaviour, extra contact, neonatal period, follow up
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66898 (URN)10.1177/140349488401200205 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-03-06 Created: 2013-03-06 Last updated: 2013-03-06Bibliographically approved
4. Long-term effect on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour post partum: V. Follw-up at three years
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Long-term effect on mother-infant behaviour of extra contact during the first hour post partum: V. Follw-up at three years
1989 (English)In: Scandinavian journal of social medicine, ISSN 1403-4948 Print; 1651-1905 Online, Vol. 17, no 2, 181-191 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Primiparous mothers and their infants who had had an extra 15–20 minutes skin-to-skin and suckling contact (P+) during the first hour after delivery behaved differently, had a longer duration of breast-feeding, and expressed different opinions on child rearing practices at follow-ups 36 hours, 3 and 12 months after delivery as compared with a control group (P) of primiparous mothers and their infants, who were given routine care immediately after birth. The present report is based on parts of the results of the follow-up at 3 years. Asked in retrospect more P mothers found the time together with their infants immediately after delivery to have been insufficient. More P+ children were reported to have been earlier continent during the day and also earlier stubborn than the children in the P group. The Denver Developmental Screening Test showed similar results in both groups. Catecholamine levels in the urine of extra contact mothers and their boys were found to be slightly higher than those of routine care mothers and boys. Two separate analyses of video-tapes of free play showed that mothers and children in the P+ group were smiling/laughing more often than P mothers and children. The P+ mothers were more encouraging and instructing towards their children than the P mothers. Articulated conflicts were more common in the P+ group. Regardless of the type of conflict, more conflicts in the P+ group were solved. As in earlier parts of this longitudinal study differences related to type of neonatal care were more pronounced for boy-mother than for girl-mother pairs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Associations of Public Health in the Nordic Countries Regions, 1989
Keyword
Mother–infant behaviour, extra contact, neonatal period, follow up
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66899 (URN)10.1177/140349488901700209 (DOI)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2013-03-06 Created: 2013-03-06 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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