Limited Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms Late in Pregnancy Are Not Related to Neonatal Outcomes

Authors

1 1First Department of Psychiatry, Women’s Mental Health Clinic, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece

2 2Department of Midwifery, Alexandrio Technological Educational Institute, Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract

Background Prior studies have reported inconsistent findings regarding the link between antenatal depressive and anxiety symptomatology, with neonatal outcomes. Objectives The aim of the present study was to assess the possible association of prenatal depressive and anxiety symptoms, in the third trimester of pregnancy, with perinatal outcomes (birth weight of the newborn, Apgar score and the newborn’s admission in neonatal intensive care unit) in a sample of pregnant women, in Greece. Patients and Methods A total of 117 women from Athens, during the 32nd to 35th week of pregnancy, participated in the study. Demographic and obstetric history data, as well as neonatal outcomes, were recorded. Three self-administered psychometric scales (Beck depression inventory (BDI), Edinburg postnatal depression scale (EPDS) and beck anxiety inventory (BAI)) were used to evaluate in detail the prenatal depressive and anxiety symptoms. Descriptive statistics, Spearman’s Rho coefficients, Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis testes were applied to analyze the data. Results On the basis of BDI, 81.1% of the sample showed minimal, 15.4% mild, 2.6% moderate and 0.9% severe depressive symptoms, respectively. Furthermore, 80.3% of the participants, scored on EPDS below the cut-off point for a likely diagnosis of depression. According to BAI scale, 43.6% showed minimal, 42.7% women mild, 10.3% moderate and 3.4% severe anxiety symptoms. No statistically significant correlations were found between depressive and anxiety symptoms and neonatal outcomes (birth weight, Apgar score and admission in neonatal intensive care unit). Conclusions Limited levels of prenatal depressive and anxiety symptoms do not seem to be associated with neonatal outcomes. In clinical practice, pregnant women, who suffer from low levels of prenatal depressive and anxiety symptoms, may be reassured, in respect of the adverse outcomes of these mood symptoms on the neonate.

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