Physiological regulation, responses and reactivity towards infant related stimuli, during pregnancy, and their relationahip with affective disorder symptoms
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable future publication of the thesis elsewhere
Objective: Pregnancy requires thorough monitoring and management because not only is it a time where normal physiological and psychological changes put a mother under stress and strain, but maternal sensitivity begins to develop, and the developing foetus needs a well regulated intrauterine environment. Such important processes can be compromised by abnormal or inconsistent physiological and emotional regulation. The study aimed to explore pregnant women’s regulation capacity at rest and their physiological reactivity, and return to physiological baseline, in response to infant related stimuli. Methods: Extended analyses of previously acquired psycho-physiological data at baseline, and pre- and post-presentation of relevant audio-visual stimuli. Results: Baseline physiological activity was significantly different between pregnant participants and controls. There were, however, no other differences in reactivity. Conclusion: Findings were inconsistent with previous research which indicates infant stimuli to become increasingly salient throughout pregnancy.