Marriage Offers Psychological Benefits to Pregnant Mothers

There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating the numerous benefits of marriage for both spouses and children of married couples. These benefits include improved physical health, mental health, positive well-being, and longer life span, just to name a few. However, the number of unwed, cohabitating couples has increased dramatically in recent decades. Many of these couples are having children out of wedlock. Additionally, the number of divorced, separated, or single women giving birth is also on the rise. This recent trend makes it necessary to take a better look at how each type of living situation affects the psychological well-being of an expectant mother, as maternal mental health has one of the biggest impacts on the well-being of the child.

Marcelo L. Urquia of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at the Keenan Research Centre in Ontario, Canada recently conducted a study involving 6,421 pregnant women. He assessed their relationship statuses and categorized them into individual classifications of married, cohabitating, separated, divorced, or single. The non-married cohabiters were further separated into groups based on duration of cohabitation to include those with less than two years cohabitation, between three and five years or more than five years cohabitation.

Urquia found that the majority, 92%, of the women in his study lived with their partners as either married or unmarried couples. Those who were unmarried and had the shortest duration of cohabitation were at the highest risk for drug and alcohol use, intimate partner violence, and postpartum depression. As the length of cohabitation increased, the risk of these outcomes decreased. Urquia also discovered that women who had divorced or separated in the year prior to giving birth were at the greatest risk for all of these negative conditions. Single women were also at risk, but not as vulnerable as those who had recently separated from their partners. Overall, the married women, especially those who had been married for more than five years, were least likely to develop any of these problems. Urquia believes these results underscore the importance of looking at length and type of habitation when analyzing relationship issues in couples. This study also reveals which couples may be most at risk for negative outcomes during and after pregnancy, and which couples would benefit most from early interventions. “Such timely interventions may improve psychosocial well-being during and after pregnancy by minimizing marital conflict and enhancing relationships at the start of a union,” said Urquia.

Urquia, Marcelo L., Patricia J. O’Campo, and Joel G. Ray. Marital status, duration of cohabitation, and psychosocial well-being among childbearing women: A Canadian nationwide survey. American Journal of Public Health 103.2 (2013): E8-E15. Print.

© Copyright 2013 by - All Rights Reserved.

The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by

  • Leave a Comment
  • Jonny r

    March 14th, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    I’m sorry, but has there ever been anyone who implied that NOT being married to your child’s other parent would be a good thing? I think not.

  • luis

    March 14th, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    think this is more of a metal thing. the core idea here is cohabiting (married or not) for a long time – that is knowing the person for long enough and having trust in the person.

    more than marriage I think the reason is trust and when trust exists it can do a lot to soothe and calm a person. and can bring the stability in a relationship that can help one get through a difficult and draining time such as having a baby.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

2 Z k A


* Indicates required field.

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

Title   Content   Author

Recent Comments

  • Guy: I am very introverted too. I think that my social anxiety has caused me to become an introvert because I always think about someone judging...
  • Who Cares: ThomasW – want you to know, whatever the religion, I totally agree with your comments: People who turn to religion because they...
  • Who Cares: ThomasW – believe me, I was not offended. True I am a Christian, and Liz’s comments were offensive! It’s personal, and...
  • Divine: I am deeply saddened to hear of many of your experiences in therapy. I myself am a therapist, and a Christian, but I could never imagine...
  • Karen: I have learned a lot about self-care in the last couple of years. One of my coping mechanisms is to get away by myself every few months even... is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on