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J Anxiety Disord. 2006;20(3):342-52.

Maternal panic disorder: Infant prematurity and low birth weight.

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The George Washington University, Ross 550, 2300 Eye Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


The aim of this pilot research was to investigate whether infants of mothers with panic disorder (PD) would be at higher risk for prematurity and low birth weight (corrected for gestational age) than controls. Medical records were reviewed for 25 mothers with PD and 33 mothers without a lifetime history of anxiety disorders or other major psychopathology as determined by diagnostic interview. Mothers also completed questionnaires concerning demographic information and life stresses. Compared to controls, infants with PD mothers were not significantly more likely to be born prematurely or earlier than controls but did show smaller birth weight corrected for gestational age, even after accounting for possible confounding influences. Additional research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings. Studying PD mothers during pregnancy could provide insight concerning mechanisms for the development of low birth weight and psychopathology.

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