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Postpartum psychosocial distress and late preterm delivery

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Background: Late preterm birth is an increasing phenomenon presently accounting for 70% of all preterm infants. It can be hypothesised that mothers of late preterm infants find it difficult to accept preterm birth and have feelings of guilt about the premature delivery and its possible consequences. Methods: Mothers of late preterm infants (n = 42) and women who gave birth to full term infants in the same maternity ward and matched for parity and delivery route (n = 42) completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire (STAI-Y), and the Psychological Stress Measure (PSM) and provided information about their medical history three days after delivery. Results: According to the data gathered, mothers of late preterm infants experience more stress, anxiety, and depression than mothers of full-term infants (Anxiety–trait (T), 45.8 ± 10.1 vs. 39 ± 6.1, p < 0.0004; Anxiety–state (T), 49.5 ± 9 vs. 42.6 ± 5.3, p < 0.0001; EPDS, 9.5 ± 4.5 vs. 6.3 ± 3.9, p < 0.0007; PSM, 46.5 ± 5.9 vs. 38.9, p < 0.006, respectively), even adjusting for mother’s age and mother‘s educational level. Conclusions: These data clearly indicate that mothers of late preterm infants are at increased psychological risk at a critical time during which the mother infant relationship is being established.
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Keywords: anxiety; depression; late preterm delivery; psychological stress; puerperium

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatrics, 2: Policlinico of Abano, 3: Department of Gynecological Science and Human Reproduction,University of Padua School of Medicine, Padua, Italy

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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