Infants who were prenatally diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD) are more stable and have better outcomes than infants who were diagnosed after birth. Diagnosing CHD in a fetus also allows mothers to educate themselves on heart malformations, consider their options, and potentially plan for intervention or surgery after birth.
However, a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that, along with these benefits, maternal posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety are common after prenatal diagnosis of CHD.
The prenatal diagnosis of CHD is a stressful event for parents, which can affect mood and anxiety. Maternal stress has been linked to fetal disturbances in the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary system, poor intrauterine growth, preterm birth, and newborns who are small for gestational age (associated with childhood attention and learning difficulties, anxiety, and depression). Therefore, healthy partner relationships and positive coping mechanisms are important for pregnant women to successfully deal with stress. Jack Rychik, MD, at the Fetal Heart Program at The Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, states, "Our study supports the notion that maternal psychological support is an important intervention that may someday accompany prenatal diagnosis of CHD, in order to potentially improve outcomes for both fetus and mother."
Dr. Rychik and colleagues from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia assessed women whose fetus had been diagnosed with serious CHD, requiring newborn assessment and cardiac surgery or catheterization within 6 months after birth. Two to four weeks after initial diagnosis, 59 pregnant women were given self-reporting surveys to assess their perceived posttraumatic stress, anxiety, depression, coping responses, and couples/partner adjustment. The authors found that depression and anxiety were higher for the pregnant women whose fetus had been diagnosed with CHD and partner satisfaction was lower, compared with women with healthy pregnancies.
Twenty-two percent of the women in the study had depression, 31% had anxiety, and 39% had traumatic stress. Low income was associated with increased maternal depression. Low partner satisfaction was associated with increased maternal depression and anxiety. Denial was associated with increased maternal depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress, regardless of partner satisfaction or income. Alternatively, increased acceptance was associated with decreased maternal depression.
Women may grieve the loss of a "normal" pregnancy by going through the various stages of grief (denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, and potentially acceptance). Health care providers should incorporate a strategy of maternal stress reduction through the promotion of coping skills after diagnosis of a fetus with CHD and throughout the pregnancy. Although maternal coping is important, partner satisfaction may be a better "buffer" for the stress of prenatal CHD. Brief couples therapy also may be beneficial to the pregnant women and their partners.
Monica Helton | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences