Anxiety Affects Pregnancy

Written On: November 18, 2015

By: Johnnie C. Miller

For the most part, studies of women who are pregnant and suffering from anxiety disorders have been concentrated on the safe use of psychotropic drugs on the reproductive system. But, it is important to realize that taking the mother-to-be off the drug or not giving it to her to treat her anxiety or depression can lead to more severe situations. Allowing a mental disorder to go untreated is never a good idea, and it is understood that when a woman has depression and anxiety when she is pregnant, the risks of a negative outcome are significantly increased.

There has also been research on how stress affects the outcome of pregnancy and has indicated that more undesirable results occur when stress is present. These outcomes include an elevated chance of having a premature baby or having a baby with a low birth weight. Not as much research has been done on how anxiety affects pregnancy. Even though anxiety and stress appear together in many cases, they are two separate conditions. Stress can trigger anxiety, in addition to depression or irritation. However, people can have anxiety without having stress.

In one particular study, 829 pregnant women were selected from a hospital located in an urban area. The women were considered to live below the poverty line. The researchers used the State-Trait Personality Index to measure how much anxiety the women were experiencing in the fourth month of pregnancy and in the seventh month of pregnancy, which corresponded with the beginning of the first trimester and the second trimester. The women were also assessed right after giving birth, which corresponded with the third trimester. In addition, the outcomes of 763 births were recorded.

a mother with her new born baby Women who experienced anxiety in the third trimester were more prone to having a premature baby or a baby with a low birth weight. Women who experienced anxiety in either the first or second trimester, or both, only the cases where the anxiety was severe indicated a premature birth or a baby with low birth weight. The women who experienced severe anxiety for two or more trimesters were at extreme risk of having a premature baby or a baby with a low birth weight. Of all the women who indicated experiencing anxiety during pregnancy, the women who said they dealt with chronic and severe anxiety were the women who had the most chances of having a premature baby.

The results from this study are very similar to the results from other studies that have indicated a connection between pregnant women who are anxious and negative pregnancy outcomes. This research seems to say that anxiety is a vital and prevalent condition that can impact both the mother and the baby. Exposing the mother to the reasons behind anxiety and what can be done for it, including learning how to relax, can lower stress levels, and thus, lower the amount of anxiety the mother-to-be experiences. This in turn, can lead to more positive pregnancy outcomes.