Maternal Stress and Pregnancy Outcomes


Aims of the study: To seek for magnitude of stress conditions among pregnant women, the clinical profile of stressed pregnant women and the potential of stress on adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes in Kinshasa. Methods: This is a multicentre 6-month case-control study dealing with consenting women having given birth at 13 biggest maternities of Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo. Mother-infant pairs were considered cases (obviously stressed women) and controls (light or not stressed women) at the end of data processing according to their perceived stress scores (PSS). Stress events, potential stress factors and maternal general and physical characteristics were registered along with maternal and perinatal outcomes. Odds ratios calculation allowed finding influence of stress on occurrence of adverse outcomes. Results and conclusions: Our study concerned 1082 women whose 57.1% (n = 618) qualified as the stressed. General characteristics found significantly different between stressed and non-stressed women were marital status (the married and widowed more frequent among the stressed), instruction level (the educated more frequent among the stressed), socioeconomic status (the elevated more frequent among the stressed) and religion status (both the traditional and new charismatic more frequent among the stressed). Obstetric risk factors were similar in both groups that were different only according to stress factors, whether emotional (relationships) or pregnancy (preciousness) related. The 3 most prominent stress factors were parent’s death (p 0.000), tension in family (p 0.000) and tension in couple (p 0.003). All expectedly compensating factors appeared significantly more frequent among stressed women. As of organic pregnancy outcomes infection, gastritis, hypertensive disorders and preterm labor were maternal ones significantly more frequent among stressed women. All non-organic outcomes (insomnia and depression) were significantly predominant among stressed women. In offspring, prematurity, low birth weight and perinatal death were significantly dominant among those born to stressed women. Odds ratios calculation showed significant potential of stress conditions on occurrence of all maternal complications but cesarean section. In offspring too, risk of outcomes’ occurrence was enhanced by stress, except for macrosomia and neonatal distress.

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Tandu-Umba, B. , Dedetemo, D. and Mananga, G. (2014) Maternal Stress and Pregnancy Outcomes. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 4, 361-370. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2014.47054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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