A study found that pregnant women who experienced anxiety may deliver their babies sooner than those who didn't.
According to a study, pregnant women who experience anxiety may deliver their babies sooner than those who don’t. The study, which was just published in the journal Health Psychology, may assist clinicians decide when and how to do an anxiety screening during pregnancy in order to help prevent preterm birth. Previous studies have shown that clinically heightened anxiety symptoms can occur in up to one in four pregnant women and that anxiety can increase the chance of preterm birth, or delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
“Anxiety about a current pregnancy is a potent psychosocial state that may affect birth outcomes,” said lead study author Christine Dunkel Schetter, from the University of California Los Angeles, US.
Presently to avoid postpartum depression consequences for moms and kids worldwide, depressive symptoms are evaluated in numerous clinic settings. Dunkel Schetter added that based on these and previous studies, it appears that pregnant women’s anxiety levels should also be evaluated.
In the most recent study, the researchers looked at data from 196 pregnant women who participated in the Healthy Babies Before Birth project in Denver and Los Angeles. In both the first and third trimesters of the women’s pregnancies, they gave them four different anxiety scores.
Three of them were special to pregnancy: a 10-question and a four-question scale of anxiety related to pregnancy. One was a five-question screener for general anxiety. Another was a nine-question evaluation of a wider range of stressors connected to pregnancy, such as medical treatment and concerns about raising a child.
The third trimester of pregnancy had the strongest correlation with early births, according to the study. Researchers claimed that overall anxiety throughout the first trimester also increased the likelihood of an early birth. Scientists found that women who have general worry early in pregnancy may be more likely to experience anxiety later on regarding things like medical concerns, the baby, labour and delivery, and parenthood. They claimed that the findings persisted even after accounting for the real medical risk involved in the women’s pregnancies.
“Although not all women who begin pregnancy with general anxiety symptoms will later experience pregnancy-specific anxiety, our results suggest that women who do follow this progression are likely to be especially at risk for earlier delivery,” Dunkel Schetter said.
The study recommends that clinicians assess pregnant women for general anxiety at the same time they routinely screen for depression. The researchers suggested that women who scored highly may be watched for changes in anxiety and possibly given interventions later in pregnancy.