Psychological well-being of women at high risk of spontaneous preterm birth cared for in a specialised preterm birth clinic: a prospective longitudinal cohort study
Dawes, L.; Waugh, J.J.S.; Lee, A.; Groom, K.M.
Bmj Open 12(3): E056999
To assess the psychological well-being of pregnant women at increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth, and the impact of care from a preterm birth clinic. Single-centre longitudinal cohort study over 1 year, 2018-2019. Tertiary maternity hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. Pregnant women at increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth receiving care in a preterm birth clinic. Participants completed three sets of questionnaires (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, and 36-Item Short Form Survey)-prior to their first, after their second, and after their last clinic appointments. Study-specific questionnaires explored pregnancy-related anxiety and perceptions of care. The primary outcome was the mean State-Anxiety score. Secondary outcomes included depression and quality of life measures. 73/97 (75.3%) eligible women participated; 41.1% had a previous preterm birth, 31.5% a second trimester loss and 28.8% cervical surgery; 20.6% had a prior mental health condition. 63/73 (86.3%) women completed all questionnaires. The adjusted mean state-anxiety score was 39.0 at baseline, which decreased to 36.5 after the second visit (difference -2.5, 95% CI -5.5 to 0.5, p=0.1) and to 32.6 after the last visit (difference -3.9 from second visit, 95% CI -6.4 to -1.5, p=0.002). Rates of anxiety (state-anxiety score >40) and depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score >12) were 38.4%, 34.8%, 19.0% and 13.7%, 8.7%, 9.5% respectively, at the same time periods. Perceptions of care were favourable; 88.9% stated the preterm birth clinic made them significantly or somewhat less anxious and 87.3% wanted to be seen again in a future pregnancy. Women at increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth have high levels of anxiety. Psychological well-being improved during the second trimester; women perceived that preterm birth clinic care reduced pregnancy-related anxiety. These findings support the ongoing use and development of preterm birth clinics.