Psychological factors as coping skills to attenuate the gestational stress response

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Abstract
Objective
Although in the 1940s there was an important decrease in global maternal/infant mortality rates, by the 1990s these rates had become stagnant. Many strategies to decrease maternal/infant mortality had been used, which included the prevention of pregnancy complications. Several studies showed an association between these complications and the stress perceived during pregnancy. However, there are some discrepancies which challenge this association. We believe that these discrepancies are due to the lack of understanding about the pregnant stress response and consequently the ways it is measured. The aim of this study was to understand how pregnant women perceive motherhood, pregnancy stressors and the psychological factors that attenuate the stress response.

Materials and methods
A qualitative study was conducted that explores the perception of gestational stress in 32 pregnant women who were recruited in different Health Centers. Semi-structured interviews were carried out which were conducted by the PhD student in charge of the project and each interview lasted 15–20min. Since the interviews were audio-recorded they were transcribed and the information was then categorized according to the three issues raised in the objective (motherhood, pregnancy stressors, and psychological factors that attenuate the stress response).

Results and conclusions
We found that the gestational stress response and also its magnitude are influenced not only by how women perceive the aspects, but also and most importantly by its articulation. Likewise, results show that gestational stress is only attenuated when women perceive and cope with both the positive and negative aspects of pregnancy and motherhood.
Year of Publication
2020
Journal
Ansiedad y Estrés
Volume
26
Issue
2-3
Number
Number of Pages
136-147
Date Published
12/2020
Type of Article
Journal article
Publisher
ISSN Number
11347937
ISBN Number
2174-0437
URL
https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1134793720300294
DOI
10.1016/j.anyes.2020.07.001