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Journal Article


Rutherford HJV, Potenza MN, Mayes LC, Scheinost D. Cereb. Cortex 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Statistics and Data Science, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


(Copyright © 2019, Oxford University Press)






Maternal bonding early postpartum lays an important foundation for child development. Changing brain structure and function during pregnancy and postpartum may underscore maternal bonding. We employed connectome-based predictive modeling (CPM) to measure brain functional connectivity and predict self-reported maternal bonding in mothers at 2 and 8 months postpartum. At 2 months, CPM predicted maternal anxiety in the bonding relationship: Greater integration between cerebellar and motor-sensory-auditory networks and between frontoparietal and motor-sensory-auditory networks were associated with more maternal anxiety toward their infant. Furthermore, greater segregation between the cerebellar and frontoparietal, and within the motor-sensory-auditory networks, was associated with more maternal anxiety regarding their infant. We did not observe CPM prediction of maternal bonding impairments or rejection/anger toward the infant. Finally, considering 2 and 8 months of data, changes in network connectivity were associated with changes in maternal anxiety in the bonding relationship. Our results suggest that changing connectivity among maternal brain networks may provide insight into the mother-infant bond, specifically in the context of anxiety and the representation of the infant in the mother's mind. These findings provide an opportunity to mechanistically investigate approaches to enhance the connectivity of these networks to optimize the representational and behavioral quality of the caregiving relationship.

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Language: en


cerebellum; connectome; connectomics; parenting; postpartum bonding


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