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Database - Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR)

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Created on : 27 Jul 2004
Modified on : 27 Dec 2007

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

Affective state of women following a prenatal diagnosis: predictors of a negative psychological outcome. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Mar;23(3):240-6.

Author(s) :

Leithner K, Maar A, Fischer-Kern M, Hilger E, Loffler-Stastka H, Ponocny-Seliger E.

Year of publication :


URL(s) :…

Résumé (français)  :

Abstract (English)  :

OBJECTIVE: The benefits of prenatal diagnostic procedures are well documented. However, the investigation of psychological consequences related to these procedures has remained a surprisingly neglected area of research. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the potential relationship between psychological outcome and associated (socio-demographic, psychological and obstetric) variables in women attending a tertiary referral center for prenatal diagnosis and therapy for ultrasound scanning (due to the suspicion of a fetal malformation raised by the gynecologist in private practice), amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.

METHODS: Affective state was assessed by means of standardized measures of anxiety and depression (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; Mood Scale) in 77 consecutive, unselected women. A follow-up investigation, including an additional assessment of coping mechanisms, took place 6 months after the first contact. Given the considerable number of intervening and correlating factors, a path analysis was undertaken.

RESULTS: We found that all women in our sample experienced acute distress, not only those with proven fetal malformations, genetic disorders or intrauterine fetal death, but also those with the diagnosis of a sonographic sign. At baseline (i.e. immediately after the diagnostic procedure), mood and anxiety scores in our sample were found to be comparable to those of patients with a major depressive episode. A high trait anxiety level, implementation of negative coping strategies and loss of the child during pregnancy were found to be predictive of a negative psychological outcome at follow-up. Socio-demographic variables did not have a significant predictive function for the psychological outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: We assume that a considerable number of women undergoing prenatal diagnostic procedures experience psychological distress, which may be underestimated by workers in prenatal care. Establishment of interdisciplinary treatment settings, in which access to psychological support is facilitated, may be extremely beneficial for women following a prenatal diagnosis.

Sumário (português)  :

Comments :

Argument (français) :

Les examens de diagnostique prénatal sont excessivement stressants pour les femmes enceintes, provoquant un épisode de grande dépression juste après l’examen, quel que soit le résultat.

Argument (English):

Argumento (português):

Keywords :

➡ depression, anxiety ; psychology ; amniocentesis ; screening ; trisomy

Author of this record :

Cécile Loup — 27 Jul 2004

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