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BJOG. 2010 Aug;117(9):1127-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02622.x. Epub 2010 May 28.

Acute maternal social dysfunction, health perception and psychological distress after ultrasonographic detection of a fetal structural anomaly.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway. a.kaasen@online.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To predict acute psychological distress in pregnant women following detection of a fetal structural anomaly by ultrasonography, and to relate these findings to a comparison group.

DESIGN:

A prospective, observational study.

SETTING:

Tertiary referral centre for fetal medicine.

POPULATION:

One hundred and eighty pregnant women with a fetal structural anomaly detected by ultrasound (study group) and 111 with normal ultrasound findings (comparison group) were included within a week following sonographic examination after gestational age 12 weeks (inclusion period: May 2006 to February 2009).

METHODS:

Social dysfunction and health perception were assessed by the corresponding subscales of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Psychological distress was assessed using the Impact of Events Scale (IES-22), Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the anxiety and depression subscales of the GHQ-28. Fetal anomalies were classified according to severity and diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity at the time of assessment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Social dysfunction, health perception and psychological distress (intrusion, avoidance, arousal, anxiety, depression).

RESULTS:

The least severe anomalies with no diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity induced the lowest levels of IES intrusive distress (P = 0.025). Women included after 22 weeks of gestation (24%) reported significantly higher GHQ distress than women included earlier in pregnancy (P = 0.003). The study group had significantly higher levels of psychosocial distress than the comparison group on all psychometric endpoints.

CONCLUSIONS:

Psychological distress was predicted by gestational age at the time of assessment, severity of the fetal anomaly, and ambiguity concerning diagnosis or prognosis.

PMID:
20528866
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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