Attachment analysis - the umbilical cord of the soul


I have just come from a bonding analysis session with an expectant mum. She is in her 30th week of pregnancy. I can still hear her words at the end of the session: "Lovely, so lovely! I always enjoy being in contact with the little one so much." Anja (name has been changed) has been coming to me for attachment analysis sessions since she was 14 weeks pregnant. It all started with her desire to get rid of her fear and build a relationship with her baby. Last year she had a miscarriage and the memory of the birth and the loss of her not-so-little boy is still very present. She didn't really dare to make contact with the little girl who is now growing inside her. What if it doesn't happen again this time?

The ego in the mirror of the soul

While you may be preparing for the exciting journey of motherhood or already feel a little miracle growing inside you, you've certainly heard a lot about the importance of a healthy diet, getting enough rest and physically preparing for labour. But have you also thought about the emotional and psychological connection with your unborn child?
This is where bonding analysis comes into play, a fascinating way of analysing this unique time during pregnancy. Pregnancy to build and strengthen this relationship in a targeted manner.

Like Anja, many mothers who have lost a child or who have "just" waited a long time to finally get pregnant feel the same way. "Just don't get too excited too soon" is something I often hear in conversations.
But what is "too early", when is the right moment to rejoice and build a relationship with the newborn and how can attachment analysis (also known as prenatal relationship development) help?

Binding analysis

What is attachment analysis?

Developed by the Hungarian psychoanalysts Jenö Raffai and György Hidas, attachment analysis aims to consciously bring mum and baby into a relationship. This gives the baby the opportunity to perceive itself as an independent being even during pregnancy. This awareness of its own identity is extremely important both for the birth and for the child's development afterwards. During these hours, the woman can grow into her role as a mother, learn to trust the sensations of her body again and reflect on and mature her own attachment patterns.

"At first it sounded a bit esoteric to me because I couldn't imagine having contact with the baby. Now I notice such a big difference to other pregnant women in my circle of friends. While my friends have "a baby" in their tummies that they talk to, I have a dialogue with our little one and am already noticing facets of her personality."

As Anja describes, many mums feel the same way with their experiences from the "baby hours". The feeling of getting to know the baby's first personality traits turns abstract knowledge about a growing embryo into a real person. For a real person with whom you have a relationship, it is easier to take good care of yourself, reduce stress or take other steps that make sense during pregnancy and in preparation for parenthood.
Your baby has their say in the baby sessions 🙂

"Since I got involved, I can perceive her much better. She lets me know very clearly when she needs more rest and I now have the confidence to trust my body again."

Process of prenatal relationship support according to Raffai

Anja is currently in the "baby hours" phase. These are the centrepiece of bonding analysis support. The aim of these sessions is for the woman to fully engage with her body and the baby while lying down and to perceive the sensations that arise. The way in which communication with the baby takes place varies from woman to woman. While some mothers have a kind of dialogue in their heads, others are more aware of physical sensations. In Anja's case, it is images that arise in her mind's eye and can be created by both her and the baby.

These baby sessions are preceded by a detailed anamnesis in which the mother and attachment analyst get to know each other. These biographical conversations are so important in order to be able to recognise later in the baby sessions whether the experiences with the baby could possibly be the processing of own issues or unconscious parts. Although attachment analysis is not a therapeutic technique, it often helps women to perceive their own experiences in a new light and to integrate them for themselves.

The intensive phase of the "final hours" forms the conclusion of the accompaniment. They help mother and baby to prepare for the separation that occurs at birth, to review the pregnancy and to make the transition as gentle as possible together.

"It does me so much good to feel that she is doing well. Thanks to these sessions, I now have confidence in my body again and have the confidence to get emotionally involved in the pregnancy."

When to start?

Anja was super early in making contact. Her previous history made it clear to her that she wanted counselling for her current pregnancy. The best time to start the weekly attachment analysis sessions is as early as possible, preferably before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Of course, it is also possible and always sensible to join later.

Advantages of attachment analysis

In addition to the subjectively perceived positive aspects of bonding analysis, there are now also several studies that confirm the benefits of bonding analysis support. These show, for example, that there are fewer premature births and caesarean sections when women are accompanied using this method. In addition, there are even shorter, less anxiety- and pain-free births and the risk of postpartum depression is almost zero.

Who is the attachment analysis right for?

Women often come to me who have already lost a baby, had a bumpy road to pregnancy or have had a traumatic birth. Although the bonding analysis is particularly helpful in such cases, it is useful and recommended for all mothers. Especially when there is already a child who needs to be cared for, the baby hours in everyday life are often the only time to consciously focus on building a relationship with the second child.


We now know that babies in the womb are perceptive and sensitive from the very beginning. The experiences they have during pregnancy and birth shape them and leave both physical and emotional traces.

Attachment analysis is a relatively new, yet scientifically sound method. It helps women during pregnancy to consciously and purposefully establish contact with their baby and build a relationship.

Have you become curious?

If you would like to let your baby have a say and strengthen your relationship, please send me an email and we can arrange an initial meeting to get to know each other.


Cornelia Valentan

György Hidas, Jenö Raffai (2006). The umbilical cord of the soul

Christa Balkenhol and Christine Karrasch (2017). My soul grows with your love

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Cornelia Valentan is a kinesiologist and qualified life and social counsellor. Under the slogan "Geboren zum Glück - Das Glück der Kinder fängt bei den Eltern an" (Born to Happiness - Children's Happiness Starts with the Parents), she accompanies couples from the desire to have a child to attachment analyses, HypnoBirthing and other services through to parenting coaching.

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