ABSTRACT: An exploratory, grounded-theory study revealed that parents develop a sense of their unborn infant's presence in an individualized manner. Four coexisting levels of cognitive and sensory awareness were delineated from a sample of primiparous and multiparous parents during the third trimester of pregnancy: awareness of the infant as an idea, awareness of the infant's presence, awareness of specific infant behavior, and awareness of the infant's interactive ability. Mothers controlled fathers' access to the unborn infant. Not all mothers interacted with their infant during pregnancy, indicating variability in style. These findings challenge current understanding of prenatal attachment.