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Anxiety in early pregnancy: prevalence and contributing factors
Uppsala University, Sweden .
Uppsala University, Sweden .
University of Melbourne, Australia .
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
2014 (English)In: Archives of Women's Mental Health, ISSN 1434-1816, E-ISSN 1435-1102, Vol. 17, no 3, 221-228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Antenatal anxiety symptoms are not only a health problem for the expectant mother. Research has found that maternal anxiety may also have an impact on the developing baby. Therefore, it is important to estimate the prevalence of maternal anxiety and associated factors. The current study aims to estimate the prevalence of anxiety symptoms during the first trimester of pregnancy and to identify associated risk factors. Secondly, to investigate other factors associated with anxiety during early pregnancy including fear of childbirth and a preference for cesarean section. In a population-based community sample of 1,175 pregnant women, 916 women (78 %) were investigated in the first trimester (gestation week 8-12). The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS-A) was used to measure anxiety symptoms. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms (HADS-A scores a parts per thousand yen8 during pregnancy) was 15.6 % in early pregnancy. Women under 25 years of age were at an increased risk of anxiety symptoms during early pregnancy (OR 2.6, CI 1.7-4.0). Women who reported a language other than Swedish as their native language (OR 4.2, CI 2.7-7.0), reported high school as their highest level of education (OR 1.6, CI 1.1-2.3), were unemployed (OR 3.5, CI 2.1-5.8), used nicotine before pregnancy (OR 1.7, CI 1.1-2.5), and had a self-reported psychiatric history of either depression (OR 3.8, CI 2.6-5.6) or anxiety (OR 5.2, CI 3.5-7.9) before their current pregnancy were all at an increased risk of anxiety symptoms during early pregnancy. Anxiety symptoms during pregnancy increased the rate of fear of birth (OR 3.0, CI 1.9-4.7) and a preference for cesarean section (OR 1.7, CI 1.0-2.8). Caregivers should pay careful attention to history of mental illness to be able to identify women with symptoms of anxiety during early pregnancy. When presenting with symptoms of anxiety, the women might need counseling and or treatment in order to decrease her anxiety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Verlag (Germany) , 2014. Vol. 17, no 3, 221-228 p.
Keyword [en]
Pregnancy; Anxiety; Anxiety disorder; Hospital anxiety and depression scale
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107825DOI: 10.1007/s00737-013-0409-0ISI: 000336320200005OAI: diva2:727938
Available from: 2014-06-23 Created: 2014-06-23 Last updated: 2014-06-23

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Sydsjö, Gunilla
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Division of Clinical SciencesFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping
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Archives of Women's Mental Health
Medical and Health Sciences

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