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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Becoming pregnant and giving birth can lead to considerable psychological, behavioral, and cognitive transformation. The nature and scope of change varies a great deal from woman to woman. This chapter summarizes qualitative and quantitative research on normal psychological adaptation to pregnancy, including recognition and acceptance of the pregnant state, experience of the boundary between self and fetus, and body image changes. It reviews research on internal representations of the fetus and fetal and neonatal attachment. Perinatal changes in stress reactivity and coping style are reviewed. The chapter explains the influence of women’s prenatal expectations about labor and delivery on subsequent experiences and reactions and describes normative postpartum mood reactivity. Perinatal effects on sleep, physical activity, sexual activity, and eating patterns are described. Controversies about the effects of pregnancy on cognition are examined. The chapter also covers topics related to the transition to motherhood, including influences on maternal self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Keywords: perinatal, adaptation to pregnancy, postpartum blues, maternal self-efficacy, maternal self-esteem, physical activity, sleep, stress

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