Coparenting, or the ways partners relate to each other in their roles as parents, is important to child and family functioning. However, it remains unclear whether coparenting begins at or prior to a child's birth. This study tested whether expectant parents' behavior in the Prenatal Lausanne Trilogue Play procedure (PLTP), an assessment designed in Switzerland for examining prebirth coparenting behavior, forecasted postnatal observations of coparenting behavior in a sample of first-time parents in the United States. Participants were 182 dual-earner couples expecting their first child. Couples completed the PLTP in the third trimester of pregnancy and observations of coparenting behavior at 9-months postpartum. Structural equation modeling analyses indicated significant continuity between expectant parents' prenatal coparenting behavior and their observed postpartum coparenting behavior 1 year later. In particular, couples who engaged in higher quality prenatal coparenting behavior demonstrated more supportive and less undermining coparenting behavior at 9-months postpartum, even after controlling for observed prenatal couple behavior and self-reported couple relationship functioning. Thus, this study demonstrated the validity and utility of the PLTP as a window into the development of coparenting, and supported the notion that the coparenting relationship develops prior to the child's birth and is already distinct from the couple relationship.
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