Original contribution

Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 329-337

First online:

Mood state and psychological adjustment to pregnancy

  • R. HartAffiliated withPsychology Department, Macquarie University, North Ryde
  • , C. A. McMahonAffiliated withPsychology Department, Macquarie University, North Ryde

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The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is an association between antenatal mood state (depression and anxiety) and psychological adjustment to pregnancy. Participants were first-time, low obstetric risk mothers at a Sydney teaching hospital who completed self-report questionnaires measuring depression, anxiety, thoughts about motherhood and self as mother and relationship with the fetus. Higher symptom levels of antenatal anxiety were related to less optimal maternal-fetal quality of attachment, more negative attitudes towards motherhood and the self as mother. Similar trends were found for symptoms of depression, however depression was not significantly related to psychological adjustment to pregnancy variables. The significance of anxiety in the current study highlights the importance of considering anxiety in the psychological adjustment to pregnancy, as well as the in the context of perinatal mental health more generally. Implications of these findings for intervention are also briefly discussed.

Keywords: Antenatal depression; antenatal anxiety; psychological adjustment to pregnancy; self as mother; maternal-fetal attachment.