The role of pregnancy acceptability in maternal mental health and bonding during pregnancy

Publication Name

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


Background: Pregnancy is an important time for women’s mental health and marks the foundations of the emerging bond between mother and baby. This study aimed to investigate the role of pregnancy acceptability and intendedness in maternal mental health and bonding during pregnancy. Methods: Data were collected from a community sample of 116 Australian pregnant women (M = 29.54, SD = 5.31) through a series of self-report questionnaires pertaining to mental health and antenatal bonding. Results: Lower pregnancy acceptability was correlated with higher depression, anxiety and total distress, lower physical and environmental quality of life and lower antenatal bonding. Women who reported their pregnancy was intended reported higher physical quality of life than those who reported their pregnancy was unintended. The relationship between total distress and antenatal bonding was moderated by women’s degree of pregnancy acceptability (low versus high). For women with low acceptability, higher distress was associated with lower bonding, but there was no such association for women with high pregnancy acceptability. The moderation model examining associations between distress and pregnancy acceptability explained 15% of the variance in antenatal bonding scores. Conclusion: Consideration of women’s appraisal of their pregnancy acceptability may provide a valuable framework for identifying individuals who may be at risk for mental health and bonding difficulties.

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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