Is natural childbirth linked to greater maternal responsiveness?

September 9, 2008

Mothers who deliver their babies vaginally may be significantly more responsive to their baby crying than women who have caesarean section deliveries (CSD), as reported by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Mothers who deliver their babies vaginally may be significantly more responsive to their baby crying than women who have caesarean section deliveries (CSD), as reported by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

In their study, the researchers discovered that women whose babies were born naturally were more sensitive to their own baby-cry in the regions of the brain that are believed to regulate emotions, motivation, and habitual behaviors, compared to mothers who underwent CSD.

Vaginal delivery involves the release of oxytocin, which in animals is a key mediator of maternal behavior, and which may play a part in potential variations of human maternal brain responsiveness that could depend on delivery conditions.

In separate research to be presented at the European Sleep Research Society meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, researchers found that babies whose mothers had depression any time before pregnancy, or had mood problems during pregnancy, may have an increased risk of chaotic sleep patterns in the first year of life.