Nav: Home

Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease increases maternal stress, depression, and anxiety

September 07, 2012

Cincinnati, OH, September 7, 2012 - Heart defects are the most common form of congenital malformations affecting newborns. 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.

-end-



Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Radiolab Presents: Anna in Somalia
This week, we are presenting a story from NPR foreign correspondent Gregory Warner and his new globe-trotting podcast Rough Translation. Mohammed was having the best six months of his life - working a job he loved, making mixtapes for his sweetheart - when the communist Somali regime perp-walked him out of his own home, and sentenced him to a lifetime of solitary confinement.  With only concrete walls and cockroaches to keep him company, Mohammed felt miserable, alone, despondent.  But then one day, eight months into his sentence, he heard a whisper, a whisper that would open up a portal to - of all places and times - 19th century Russia, and that would teach him how to live and love again. 
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Future Consequences
From data collection to gene editing to AI, what we once considered science fiction is now becoming reality. This hour, TED speakers explore the future consequences of our present actions. Guests include designer Anab Jain, futurist Juan Enriquez, biologist Paul Knoepfler, and neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.