Three-dimensional ultrasound and maternal bonding, a third trimester study and a review

E. A.P. de Jong-Pleij*, L. S.M. Ribbert, L. R. Pistorius, E. Tromp, E. J.H. Mulder, C. M. Bilardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To compare the effect of third trimester three-dimensional and four-dimensional (3D/4D) versus two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound (US) of the fetal face on maternal bonding. Studies quantifying the psychological effect of 3D/4D US on mothers, pregnant of a fetus with no detectable abnormalities, were reviewed. Methods: One hundred sixty Caucasian women attended a third trimester 3D/4D or 2D US examination. Women filled out the Maternal Antenatal Attachment Scale (MAAS) 1 to 2weeks before (MAAS1) and 1 to 2weeks after (MAAS2) the US examination. Visibility, recognition and attractiveness were assessed. Results: Within both US groups, the MAAS2 scores were significantly higher than the MAAS1 scores (p<0.0001). No differences in MAAS scores between the US groups emerged. Visibility and recognition were significantly positively related with the increase in MAAS scores (p=0.003 and p=0.042) in the 3D/4D group. Of 13 psychological studies, eight studies evaluated bonding and found no difference between 3D/4D and 2D US. The effect of 3D/4D US on satisfaction or perception showed conflicting results, and on anxiety/stress, reduction was the same as after 2D US. Conclusions: Bonding increases after either a 3D/4D or 2D US. The effect of 3D/4D US on bonding is stronger at better degrees of visibility and recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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