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Every day, around 385,000 babies are born worldwide. Childbirth is culturally perceived as positive, yet having a child is such a unique experience. For some new mothers and fathers, it may be a challenging experience. It is estimated that up to one-third of parents have psychological difficulties during ...

Every day, around 385,000 babies are born worldwide. Childbirth is culturally perceived as positive, yet having a child is such a unique experience. For some new mothers and fathers, it may be a challenging experience. It is estimated that up to one-third of parents have psychological difficulties during pregnancy and postpartum, with depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder being the most common. These difficulties then often affect the relationships between the mother, partner, and infant. As the interactions with both parents are crucial for infant development, parental mental health difficulties may have adverse effects on the family dynamics and the infant. However, infant characteristics can also affect the relationship and interactions with his or her parents, making these interactions complex and important to investigate.

Most studies on perinatal mental health focus on postnatal depression in mothers. However, studies show that anxiety is as prevalent in the postpartum period as depression, and that fathers' mental health is also important in the transition to parenthood. Therefore, our focus is on the broad range of mental health difficulties that might arise in the postpartum period. In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is affected more than ever. Moreover, restrictions to maternity services because of the pandemic have affected mothers and fathers. Therefore, this Research Topic expands the focus from maternal to parental mental health. It is important to understand how these perinatal mental health problems affect infant socio-emotional and cognitive development and the related mechanisms. This, in turn, could help tailor focused interventions for alleviating the impact of parental mental health issues on infant development.

This Research Topic will gather emerging studies on the relationship between parental perinatal mental health and infant development. Parental mental health problems can include a wide range of symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, psychological distress, anger, and reduced well-being in parents from pregnancy, through childbirth and postpartum up to infancy in the first 1000 days. The following topics are especially welcome:

• Parenting
• Parenting styles
• Breastfeeding
• Parent-infant interactions
• Socioemotional and cognitive development in infants

In addition to psychosocial factors related to infant development, we encourage studies on genetic and epigenetic processes linked to maternal mental health and its relation to infant development. Furthermore, themes on parent-infant interventions of any kind are appreciated. Finally, original research, including quantitative and qualitative methods, and systematic reviews/meta-analyses are preferred.



Image Credit: Pixabay

Keywords: Perinatal Period, Mental Health, Child development, Mothers, Fathers, Infant, Parenting


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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