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Coping skills, marital satisfaction help pregnant moms manage stress when fetus has heart defect
Date:9/7/2012

t experienced depression, and 31 percent experienced state anxiety. Lower partner satisfaction and lower income were both associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety and traumatic stress. When the researchers controlled for partner satisfaction and income, they found denial to be most important factor contributing to depression.

"Prenatal diagnosis of CHD is a traumatic event for many pregnant women. In our study we found that a substantial proportion of mothers exhibited evidence for traumatic stress, with nearly 40 percent exceeding clinical cut-off points for post-traumatic stress disorder," said Guy S. Diamond, Ph.D., a psychologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who participated in this study.

"While individual coping skills are important, partner satisfaction may better predict a more resilient response to the stress of prenatal CHD," Diamond added. We have identified 'denial' as an important contributor to depression and that on-going counseling sessions should focus on this risk factor."

"This study is the beginning, and more research needs to be done to ensure we are giving mothers the very best multidisciplinary care. In one way, the families are fortunate to know in advance that their baby has a CHD and in another way given more stress with that knowledge. In the future, optimal management strategies to improve outcomes for both mom and fetus will include stress reduction techniques, which should accompany the diagnosis of CHD prior to birth," added Rychik.


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Contact: Joey McCool Ryah
McCool@email.chop.edu
267-426-6070
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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