Experiencing a stillbirth can be a potent stressor for psychological distress in the subsequent pregnancy and possibly after the subsequent birth. The impact on women’s relationship with her partner in the subsequent pregnancy and postpartum remains uncertain. The objectives of the study were 1) To investigate the prevalence of anxiety and depression in the pregnancy following stillbirth and assess gestational age at stillbirth and inter-pregnancy interval as individual risk factors. 2) To assess the course of anxiety, depression and satisfaction with partner relationship up to 3 years after the birth of a live-born baby following stillbirth.
This study is based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, a population-based pregnancy cohort. The sample included 901 pregnant women: 174 pregnant after a stillbirth, 362 pregnant after a live birth and 365 previously nulliparous. Anxiety and depression were assessed by short-form subscales of the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist, and relationship satisfaction was assessed by the Relationship Satisfaction Scale. These outcomes were measured in the third trimester of pregnancy and 6, 18 and 36 months postpartum. Logistic regression models were applied to study the impact of previous stillbirth on depression and anxiety in the third trimester of the subsequent pregnancy and to investigate gestational age and inter-pregnancy interval as potential risk factors.
Women pregnant after stillbirth had a higher prevalence of anxiety (22.5%) and depression (19.7%) compared with women with a previous live birth (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 5.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.90–10.32 and aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.11–3.27) and previously nulliparous women (aOR 4.97, 95% CI 2.68–9.24 and aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.08–3.36). Gestational age at stillbirth (> 30 weeks) and inter-pregnancy interval < 12 months were not associated with depression and/or anxiety. Anxiety and depression decreased six to 18 months after the birth of a live-born baby, but increased again 36 months postpartum. Relationship satisfaction did not differ between groups.
Women who have experienced stillbirth face a significantly greater risk of anxiety and depression in the subsequent pregnancy compared with women with a previous live birth and previously nulliparous women.
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- Anxiety, depression and relationship satisfaction in the pregnancy following stillbirth and after the birth of a live-born baby: a prospective study
Ida Kathrine Gravensteen
Per Morten Sandset
Linda Bjørk Helgadottir
- BioMed Central
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