Mother-infant bonding is an emerging perinatal issue. While emergency cesarean deliveries are associated with a risk of bonding disorders, the mode of anesthesia used for emergency cesarean deliveries has never been studied in this context. We aimed to investigate the impact of administering general anesthesia and neuraxial anesthesia to women undergoing cesarean deliveries on mother-infant bonding. This was a retrospective, propensity score-matched multivariable analysis of 457 patients who underwent emergency cesarean deliveries between February 2016 and January 2019 at a single teaching hospital in Japan. The Mother-Infant Bonding Scale (MIBS) scores at hospital discharge and the 1-month postpartum outpatient visit were evaluated in the general anesthesia and the neuraxial anesthesia groups. A high score on the MIBS indicates impaired mother-infant bonding. The primary outcome was the MIBS score at hospital discharge in propensity score-matched women. After propensity score matching, the median [interquartile range (IQR)] MIBS scores were significantly higher in the general anesthesia group than those in the neuraxial anesthesia group at hospital discharge [2 (1-4) vs. 2 (0-2); P = 0.015] and at the 1-month postpartum outpatient visit [1 (1-3) vs. 1 (0-2); P = 0.046]. In linear regression analysis of matched populations, general anesthesia showed a significant and positive association with the MIBS scores at hospital discharge [beta coefficient 0.867 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.147-1.59); P = 0.019] but not at the 1-month postpartum outpatient visit [0.455 (-0.134 to 1.044); P = 0.129]. General anesthesia for emergency cesarean delivery is an independent risk factor associated with impaired mother-infant bonding.
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