What is my Baby Like? Representations Concerning the Baby in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Marta Pedreira, Isabel Leal


Aim: To investigate if during the third trimester of pregnancy fantasies emerge in the baby representations based on the information that pregnant women have on their real babies through ultrasound techniques. Method: A qualitative, descriptive and exploratory research based on a sample of 30 pregnant Portuguese women, whose average age is 32 years old, was developed. A socio-demographic questionnaire and a semi-directive interview entitled "Interview of Maternal Representations During Pregnancy – Revised Version" (IRMAG-R, Ammaniti & Tambelli, 2010) were employed. Results: Baby representations are immersed in a fantasy dimension, which means that the imaginary baby is quite present in this phase of pregnancy. Pregnant women mainly attribute psychological characteristics to the babies, rather than physical characteristics. Regardless of the type of characteristics analysed, the preference for these characteristics emerges based on their wishes. Secondly, characteristics of the parents may also emerge. Fetal movements and information from ultrasound have no significant influence on the characterization of the baby. Conclusion: Despite the development of ultrasound techniques, the imaginary baby defines parents representations about the baby on the third trimester of pregnancy. Consequently, a new understanding of how pregnant women experience the transition to the postnatal phase has to be considered.


pregnant women; third trimester of pregnancy; babies representations; imaginary baby; real baby; ultrasound techniques