Stress and anxiety in relation to amniocentesis: do women who perceive their partners to be more involved in pregnancy feel less stressed and anxious?

Croatian Medical Journal 51(2):137 (2010) PMID 20401956 PMCID PMC2859418

To assess whether imminent amniocentesis is associated with the perception of increased stress and state anxiety in women and their partners and whether greater partner's involvement during pregnancy alleviates women's stress and anxiety. Two hundred twenty women awaiting amniocentesis and 90 male partners participated in the study. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, and Partner's Involvement in Pregnancy Scale were administered. Statistical analysis was performed using t test, one way ANOVA, and Pearson correlation test. Imminent amniocentesis caused increased stress (17.6 +/- 6.8; t = 7.32, P < 0.001) and anxiety (42.0 +/- 11.9; t = 8.51, P < 0.001) in pregnant women, but not their partners (stress: 14.3 +/- 6.1; t = 0.17, P = 0.862; anxiety: 36.4 +/- 10.40; t = 0.66, P = 0.510). Stress was even more pronounced in women who experienced another stressor, like unplanned pregnancy, prenatal-related nausea and vomiting, or chromosomal aberration in a previous pregnancy. Significant negative correlation was found for women's stress and their perception of their partner's involvement during pregnancy (r = -0.23; P = 0.001); the same was not found for women's anxiety. Greater partner's involvement during pregnancy could diminish women's stress, but elevated state anxiety just before amniocentesis could not be alleviated in the same way. Thus, health care professionals must pay greater attention to the psychological status of women undergoing amniocentesis to help them better cope with the situation.