Women's antenatal anxiety, especially if paired with significant life stressors or comorbid physical or mental health disorders, can predict adverse birth outcomes, defined in terms of birth weight, gestational age at birth and obstetric complications. Here, we tested for an impact of moderate anxiety symptoms on these outcomes because many women experience these kinds of symptoms during pregnancy, and even subtle differences in birth outcomes can have significant effects on children's development. We also tested for moderation of anxiety effects by infant gender. The sample comprised 219 women with anxiety symptoms ranging from none to moderate levels on the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Multivariate models estimated main effects of Group (no/minimal versus moderate symptoms) and interactions between Group and infant Gender. Results indicate that moderate anxiety predicted more obstetric complications, particularly among mothers of daughters. Results also demonstrate a Group x Gender interaction on BW, indicating that sons of anxious mothers weighed more than sons of controls; whereas, daughters of anxious mothers weighed less than daughters of controls. These findings show that moderate anxiety symptoms may affect some birth outcomes, and differently for males and females.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology|
|State||Published - 1 Dec 2014|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (R01HD053586) to S. V. Farone and M. Kaitz.
© 2014 Informa UK Ltd.
- Antenatal anxiety
- Birth outcomes
- Fetal programming