Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coping skills, marital satisfaction help pregnant moms manage stress when fetus has heart defect

Date:
September 7, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
Expectant mothers who learn from prenatal diagnosis that they are carrying a fetus with a congenital heart defect (CHD) commonly suffer post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety. However, a healthy relationship with one's partner and positive coping mechanisms can reduce this intense stress, according to new research.

Expectant mothers who learn from prenatal diagnosis that they are carrying a fetus with a congenital heart defect (CHD) commonly suffer post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety. However, a healthy relationship with one's partner and positive coping mechanisms can reduce this intense stress, according to new research from the Cardiac Center of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The study is published in the September 2012 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

"Receiving the news of carrying a fetus with a CHD is a stressful event which can potentially influence a mother's anxiety level," said study leader Jack Rychik, M.D., medical director of the Fetal Heart Program in the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Prenatal diagnosis is helpful in that it gives parents time to learn about the defect, review treatment options, plan for necessary interventions and consider their options. While this is intrinsically a stressful time for parents, there has previously been little research on the details of this stress and ways to buffer it."

The researchers surveyed 59 pregnant mothers, ranging in gestational age from 17 to 31.5 weeks, who were recruited by nurse coordinators at either the initial visit to the Fetal Heart Program or a follow-up visit, then followed throughout the rest of their gestation. Participants intended to continue the pregnancy, and to plan for follow-up with the Fetal Heart Program. All were carrying fetuses with serious CHD requiring neonatal evaluation and postnatal surgical or catheter-based intervention within the first six months of life.

Using psychological evaluation tools and self-report instruments, the study team measured traumatic stress, depression and anxiety among the mothers. The researchers also measured partner satisfaction and collected demographic data.

More than 39 percent of the women experienced clinically important traumatic stress, 22 percent experienced depression, and 31 percent experienced state anxiety. Lower partner satisfaction and lower income were both associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety and traumatic stress. When the researchers controlled for partner satisfaction and income, they found denial to be most important factor contributing to depression.

"Prenatal diagnosis of CHD is a traumatic event for many pregnant women. In our study we found that a substantial proportion of mothers exhibited evidence for traumatic stress, with nearly 40 percent exceeding clinical cut-off points for post-traumatic stress disorder," said Guy S. Diamond, Ph.D., a psychologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who participated in this study.

"While individual coping skills are important, partner satisfaction may better predict a more resilient response to the stress of prenatal CHD," Diamond added. We have identified 'denial' as an important contributor to depression and that on-going counseling sessions should focus on this risk factor."

"This study is the beginning, and more research needs to be done to ensure we are giving mothers the very best multidisciplinary care. In one way, the families are fortunate to know in advance that their baby has a CHD and in another way given more stress with that knowledge. In the future, optimal management strategies to improve outcomes for both mom and fetus will include stress reduction techniques, which should accompany the diagnosis of CHD prior to birth," added Rychik.

Dr. Rychik's co-authors are Denise D. Donaghue, RN, MSN; Suzanne Levy, Ph.D.; Clara Fajardo, MS; Jill Combs, RN, MSN; Xuemei Zhang, MS; Anita Szwast, M.D., and Guy S. Diamond, Ph.D., all from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Rychik is supported in part by the Robert and Dolores Harrington Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Coping skills, marital satisfaction help pregnant moms manage stress when fetus has heart defect." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907160619.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2012, September 7). Coping skills, marital satisfaction help pregnant moms manage stress when fetus has heart defect. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907160619.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Coping skills, marital satisfaction help pregnant moms manage stress when fetus has heart defect." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907160619.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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