Perinatal medical illness has been associated with child maltreatment. Using a Child Protective Service (CPS) report as the defining event, this study explores to what extent perinatal morbidity is a risk factor for maltreatment.
Medical charts of 206 children ages 0-3 years were reviewed. Data regarding birth history were collected and analyzed in three groups of children: children whose medical record indicated a report to CPS based on prenatal findings (Early Maternal Inadequacy group [EMI]), children whose medical record indicated a report to CPS based only on postnatal findings (Child Maltreatment group [CM]), and a control group without CPS report (NM).
Compared to the CM and the NM groups, children in the EMI group showed significantly lower birth weight and higher neonatal morbidity as measured by Apgar scores, frequency of oxygen requirement and intubation at birth, frequency of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care unit, and frequency of neonatal medical problems. There was no significant difference between the CM and the NM groups in birth weight, gestational age, and other measures of morbidity.
The results of the study suggest that perinatal complications are associated with prenatal maltreatment. Previously reported strong associations between neonatal morbidity and child abuse are more likely a result of antecedent prenatal maternal behaviors (early maternal inadequacy). Early maternal inadequacy, a clinically and demographically distinct phenomenon, is important due to serious health, development and financial implications and deserves further exploration.
"Studies have consistently found a high incidence of abuse among children with a history of neonatal medical problems, premature birth and low birth weight [2,3]. Infants experiencing poorer fetal growth or preterm birth are at increased risk of physical, emotional, or abuse or neglect independent of maternal age and socioeconomic status . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies have consistently found a high incidence of neonatal medical problems, premature births and low birth weights in abused and neglected children. One of the explanations proposed for the relation between neonatal problems and adverse parenting is a possible delay or disturbance in the bonding process between the parent and infant. This hypothesis suggests that due to neonatal problems, the development of an affectionate bond between the parent and the infant is impeded. The disruption of an optimal parent-infant bond -on its turn- may predispose to distorted parent-infant interactions and thus facilitate abusive or neglectful behaviours. Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) is expected to promote the bond between parents and newborns and is expected to diminish non-optimal parenting behaviour.
This study is a multi-center randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Video Interaction Guidance in parents of premature infants. In this study 210 newborn infants with their parents will be included: n = 70 healthy term infants (>37 weeks GA), n = 70 moderate term infants (32-37 weeks GA) which are recruited from maternity wards of 6 general hospitals and n = 70 extremely preterm infants or very low birth weight infants (<32 weeks GA) recruited by the NICU of 2 specialized hospitals. The participating families will be divided into 3 groups: a reference group (i.e. full term infants and their parents, receiving care as usual), a control group (i.e. premature infants and their parents, receiving care as usual) and an intervention group (i.e. premature infants and their parents, receiving VIG). The data will be collected during the first six months after birth using observations of parent-infant interactions, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Primary outcomes are the quality of parental bonding and parent-infant interactive behaviour. Parental secondary outcomes are (posttraumatic) stress symptoms, depression, anxiety and feelings of anger and hostility. Infant secondary outcomes are behavioral aspects such as crying, eating, and sleeping.
This is the first prospective study to empirically evaluate the effect of VIG in parents of premature infants. Family recruitment is expected to be completed in January 2012. First results should be available by 2012. TRAIL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NTR3423.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study explores the prenatal Child Abuse Potential (pCAP) scores derived from the Child Abuse Potential Inventory administered to expectant adolescent mothers. The aim of the study was to assess the association of the pCAP scores with maternal negative prenatal behaviors, and evaluate the contribution of the pCAP scores to neonatal morbidity.
The pCAP scores, demographic data, and self-report on prenatal behaviors were obtained during the second half of the pregnancy in a sample of 45 poor single adolescent mothers. A pediatrician blind to the prenatal data reviewed the neonatal records to assess neonatal morbidity. Maternal prenatal records were reviewed for obstetric risk assessment by an obstetrician who was blind to the rest of the data. The relations among the pCAP scores, prenatal behaviors, and neonatal morbidity were analyzed.
In the prenatal period, the pCAP scores were positively correlated with self-reported prenatal smoking and substance use. The multiple linear regression analysis showed that the pCAP scores significantly contributed to neonatal morbidity independently of obstetric risk factors.
The Child Abuse Potential scores obtained during pregnancy in poor single adolescent mothers reflect domains of maternal functioning that are associated with negative prenatal behaviors and appear to be important for predicting neonatal morbidity. Further studies are warranted to validate the prenatal use of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory.
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