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Promoting maternal-fetal attachment with women affected by HIV and/or substance abuse

Lucas, A. – 2013

A research brief on maternal-fetal attachment (MFA) among pregnant women with substance abuse issues and/or HIV. Describes what maternal-fetal attachment is and lists the benefits and protective factors associated with healthy MFA for both mothers and babies. Lists the negative effects associated with poor MFA for the fetus and the baby. Outlines barriers to healthy maternal-fetal attachment, including fear of having an unhealthy baby, depression and anxiety, loss of a previous baby, unwanted pregnancy, poor maternal attachment history, stigma of being pregnant with HIV, and the threat of legal penalties associated with substance use during pregnancy. Lists interventions to promote MFA, such as providing health care advocacy, educating the mother on fetal development, movement, and sensitivity, breastfeeding education, and connecting the mother with a support network and services. Lists additional supports specific to mothers with HIV. Supplemental supports for substance-abusing mothers include focusing on fetal health, optimizing child custody, and offering toxicology screening and substance abuse counseling.