Pregnancy After Perinatal loss: The Relationship Between Anxiety and Prenatal Attachment

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the difference between levels of pregnancy-specific anxiety and prenatal attachment in a group of pregnant women who previously had a late pregnancy loss and a group of primiparous women of similar gestational age. To also determine the relationship, if any, between anxiety and prenatal attachment in both groups.

Design:

A nonrandom, comparative descriptive design.

Setting:

Participants recruited from medical offices, childbirth classes, and perinatal support groups and newsletters.

Participants:

A convenience sample of 31 expectant mothers (15 primiparae and 16 who previously experienced a late pregnancy miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death). Both groups of women were in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of their current pregnancy.

Main Outcome Measures:

Anxiety was measured using the Pregnancy Outcome Questionnaire; prenatal attachment was measured using the Prenatal Attachment Inventory.

Results:

The loss group showed significantly greater levels of anxiety and significantly lower levels of prenatal attachment compared with a group of primiparous women of a similar gestational age.

Conclusions:

Women who experienced a previous late pregnancy loss had a higher level of anxiety related to concerns about the pregnancy and decreased prenatal attachment with the child in the current pregnancy. Women in their first pregnancy had decreased anxiety compared with the loss group. Higher levels of prenatal attachment also were shown in the primiparous group.

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