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Promoting Maternal-Fetal Attachment with Women Affected by HIV and/or Substance Use
Transcript of Promoting Maternal-Fetal Attachment with Women Affected by HIV and/or Substance Use
by The National AIA Resource Center
Maternal-Fetal Attachment (MFA)
The woman develops an internal representation of her unborn baby, and begins the process of identifying as a mother, while simultaneously accepting the fetus as a unique individual who is separate from her.
Protective Factors Associated with MFA
Defines the relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus and is demonstrated through the expression of her feelings and behaviors.
Heightened MFA levels often lead to a more secure parent-child attachment after birth.
Benefits for Mother
Mothers with high levels of MFA typically engage in more positive behaviors and practices during pregnancy, including:
abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, illicit drug use;
adherence to suggested prenatal care; healthy diets; regular sleep schedules; increased exercise; seat belt use; and utilization of medical attention, when needed
increased levels of family involvement;
with Low MFA
When maternal-fetal attachment does not increase over time, the baby is born to a mother who is less likely and less able to:
engage in positive attachment behaviors;
soothe the baby;
feel protective impulses towards the baby.
Fear of a Compromised Infant
Depression & Anxiety
Traumatic Maternal Attachment History
Social Stigma when Mother is HIV+ & Pregnant
Fear that Baby will Enter into CPS Custody
Barriers to Healthy
Interventions to Promote Maternal-Fetal Attachment
Providing health care advocacy;
Offering information on fetal development;
Assisting mother in detecting fetal placement and movement;
Encouraging positive internal representation;
Educating about fetal sensitivity to the maternal experience;
Planning ahead for infant feeding;
Assisting mother in building a support system.
Supplemental Supports for Mothers with HIV
The principle distinctions are that mothers with HIV commonly encounter stigma related to medical and pregnancy status, anxiety around the health of their fetus, and stress regarding navigation of numerous medical appointments while preparing for an infant.
Create a medical management plan
Provide therapeutic support
Provide culturally-informed and respectful services
Advocate for joint prenatal and maternal medical appointments
Create support groups
Focus on fetal health
Optimize child custody outcomes
Offer toxicology screenings
Offer comprehensive substance use counseling
Supplemental Supports for Mothers Who Use Substances
Practitioners are advised to consider supplemental interventions for pregnant women affected by HIV and/or substance use to achieve an optimal level of maternal fetal attachment.
With enhanced MFA, mothers and infants can begin life together in the most productive way possible.
Low MFA can result in the development of an insecure parent-child attachment.
Effects on the Baby
MFA typically strengthens over the course of a pregnancy, but it can also be promoted through conscious intention and action.
Women with HIV have similar levels of MFA as HIV negative mothers.
For more on this topic visit:
Mothers who use substances often have heightened concerns about their baby’s health and their own ability to maintain custody of the baby in light of their drug use during pregnancy.