Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease increases maternal stress, depression, and anxiety

Date:
September 7, 2012
Source:
Elsevier Health Sciences
Summary:
Infants who were prenatally diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD) are more stable and have better outcomes than infants who were diagnosed after birth. Diagnosing CHD in a fetus also allows mothers to educate themselves on heart malformations, consider their options, and potentially plan for intervention or surgery after birth. However, a new study finds that, along with these benefits, maternal post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety are common after prenatal diagnosis of CHD.

Heart defects are the most common form of congenital malformations affecting newborns. Infants who were prenatally diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD) are more stable and have better outcomes than infants who were diagnosed after birth. Diagnosing CHD in a fetus also allows mothers to educate themselves on heart malformations, consider their options, and potentially plan for intervention or surgery after birth. However, a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that, along with these benefits, maternal posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety are common after prenatal diagnosis of CHD.

Related Articles


The prenatal diagnosis of CHD is a stressful event for parents, which can affect mood and anxiety. Maternal stress has been linked to fetal disturbances in the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary system, poor intrauterine growth, preterm birth, and newborns who are small for gestational age (associated with childhood attention and learning difficulties, anxiety, and depression). Therefore, healthy partner relationships and positive coping mechanisms are important for pregnant women to successfully deal with stress. Jack Rychik, MD, at the Fetal Heart Program at The Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, states, "Our study supports the notion that maternal psychological support is an important intervention that may someday accompany prenatal diagnosis of CHD, in order to potentially improve outcomes for both fetus and mother."

Dr. Rychik and colleagues from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia assessed women whose fetus had been diagnosed with serious CHD, requiring newborn assessment and cardiac surgery or catheterization within 6 months after birth. Two to four weeks after initial diagnosis, 59 pregnant women were given self-reporting surveys to assess their perceived posttraumatic stress, anxiety, depression, coping responses, and couples/partner adjustment. The authors found that depression and anxiety were higher for the pregnant women whose fetus had been diagnosed with CHD and partner satisfaction was lower, compared with women with healthy pregnancies.

Twenty-two percent of the women in the study had depression, 31% had anxiety, and 39% had traumatic stress. Low income was associated with increased maternal depression. Low partner satisfaction was associated with increased maternal depression and anxiety. Denial was associated with increased maternal depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress, regardless of partner satisfaction or income. Alternatively, increased acceptance was associated with decreased maternal depression.

Women may grieve the loss of a "normal" pregnancy by going through the various stages of grief (denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, and potentially acceptance). Health care providers should incorporate a strategy of maternal stress reduction through the promotion of coping skills after diagnosis of a fetus with CHD and throughout the pregnancy. Although maternal coping is important, partner satisfaction may be a better "buffer" for the stress of prenatal CHD. Brief couples therapy also may be beneficial to the pregnant women and their partners.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jack Rychik, MD, Denise D. Donaghue, RN, MSN, Suzanne Levy, PhD, Clara Fajardo, MS, Jill Combs, RN, MSN, Xuemei Zhang, MS, Anita Szwast, MD, Guy S. Diamond, PhD. Maternal Psychological Stress after Prenatal Diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.07.023

Cite This Page:

Elsevier Health Sciences. "Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease increases maternal stress, depression, and anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072456.htm>.
Elsevier Health Sciences. (2012, September 7). Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease increases maternal stress, depression, and anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072456.htm
Elsevier Health Sciences. "Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease increases maternal stress, depression, and anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072456.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins