Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of 3D-Printed Models and 3D Ultrasonography on Maternal–Fetal Attachment

John Joseph Coté, Amy S. Badura-Brack, Ryan William Walters, Nicholas Gregory Dubay, Marley Rain Bredehoeft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether the addition of 3D-printed models improves maternal–fetal attachment in healthy pregnancies more than 3D ultrasonography alone. Design: Randomized, parallel-group, controlled trial. Setting: University- and clinic system–affiliated locations in Omaha, Nebraska. Participants: Between May 2018 and February 2019, 857 pregnant women were screened for inclusion in the study, and 96 women (11%) were randomly assigned to an ultrasonography group (n = 48) or to an ultrasonography plus 3D-printed model group (n = 48). Methods: Participants completed the Maternal Antenatal Attachment Scale (MAAS) questionnaire before they received third trimester 3D ultrasonography. Participants were randomly allocated to receive 3D ultrasonography only or 3D ultrasonography plus 3D-printed models of the fetus's face. All participants completed a second MAAS questionnaire approximately 14 days after the study ultrasonography. The primary outcome was the global MAAS score. Secondary outcomes included the MAAS subscale scores. Results: The time-by-group interaction effect indicated that change in MAAS global score from baseline for the 3D-printed model group was 3.75 points greater than the score for the ultrasonography only group (95% confidence interval [1.40, 6.10], p =.002). Similar results were observed for the subscales with regard to quality of attachment and time spent thinking about the fetus. Conclusions: The use of fetal facial models resulted in greater increases in maternal–fetal attachment than the use of ultrasonography only. Future research into this new technology to enhance pregnancy outcomes is clearly warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-199
Number of pages10
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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