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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Most adults undergo the transition to parenthood, yet there is a great deal of mystery and uncertainty inherent in this period of time. Because the perinatal period is of great interest to scholars and laypeople alike, much research has been dedicated to the psychological, behavioral, physiological, and neurochemical experiences associated with pregnancy and lactation. This chapter identifies key themes in the perinatal literature and future directions for research. An abundance of research has characterized and described the changes that women undergo during the transition to parenthood, the effects of adjustment problems on women and their infants, and interventions to assist women who are experiencing or are at risk for adjustment problems. Future interdisciplinary research is necessary to capture the complex interactions among psychological, behavioral, physiological, neurochemical, and environmental variables that can explain good and poor outcomes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum adjustment.

Keywords: pregnancy, childbearing, postpartum, lactation, transition to parenthood, perinatal, adjustment, biopsychosocial

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