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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb 12

Arch Womens Ment Health

The influence of maternal psychological distress on the mode of birth and duration of labor: findings from the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study.


Sanni K-R, Eeva E, Noora SM, Laura KS, Linnea K, Hasse K
Arch Womens Ment Health. 2022 Feb 12.
PMID: 35150311.


Antepartum depression, general anxiety symptoms, and pregnancy-related anxiety have been recognized to affect pregnancy outcomes. Systematic reviews on these associations lack consistent findings, which is why further research is required. We examined the associations between psychological distress, mode of birth, epidural analgesia, and duration of labor. Data from 3619 women with singleton pregnancies, from the population-based FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study were analyzed. Maternal psychological distress was measured during pregnancy at 24 and 34 weeks, using the Pregnancy-Related Anxiety Questionnaire-Revised 2 (PRAQ-R2) and its subscale "Fear of Giving Birth" (FOC), the anxiety subscale of the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Mode of birth, epidural analgesia, and labor duration were obtained from the Finnish Medical Birth Register. Maternal psychological distress, when captured with PRAQ-R2, FOC, and SCL-90, increased the likelihood of women having an elective cesarean section (OR: 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.06, p = .003; OR: 1.13, 95% CI 1.07-1.20, p < .001; OR: 1.06, 95% CI 1.03-1.10, p = .001), but no association was detected for instrumental delivery or emergency cesarean section. A rise in both the PRAQ-R2, and FOC measurements increased the likelihood of an epidural analgesia (OR: 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.03, p = .003; OR: 1.09, 95% CI 1.05-1.12, p < .001) and predicted longer second stage of labor (OR: 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.01, p = .023; OR: 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.05, p < .001). EPDS did not predict any of the analyzed outcomes. The results indicate that maternal anxiety symptoms (measured using PRAQ-R2, FOC, and SCL-90) are associated with elective cesarean section. Psychological distress increases the use of epidural analgesia, but is not associated with complicated vaginal birth.