Maternal-fetal attachment: searching for a new definition.

: Maternal-fetal attachment is the purest source of the powerful attachment relationship, the gradual internalisation of the life within unspoilt by the realities and complexities of early parenting. This qualitative study searches for a definition of attachment utilising a phenomenological framework. An opportunity sample of 10 women in the final trimester of pregnancy was interviewed. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using Glaser & Strauss's (1967) constant comparative methodology. Thirteen key themes were identified, of these 4 were specific to parenting experience. A novel finding contrary to earlier studies was that women reported their overwhelming emotion was not love but an innate desire to protect. Protection, the developmental nature of attachment and importance of the emotional and physical support of a partner or parent form the kernel of an evolving paradigm.