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Profile of Mood States and Parental Attitudes in Motherhood: Comparing Women with Planned and Unplanned Pregnancies


  • Pietro Grussu BPsych, PostgradDipClinicPsych,

    Corresponding author
    1. Directing Psychologist, National Health Service, Azienda ULSS nr.17 of Este (PD); Consultorio familiare,
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  • Rosa M. Quatraro BPsych, PostgradDipClinicPsych,

    1. Rosa Quatraro is Psychologist, National Health Service, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit, Azienda ULSS nr.6 of Vicenza; and
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  • Maria T. Nasta BPsych, PostgradDipClinicPsych

    1. Maria Nasta is Researcher with the Department of Gynaecology and Human Reproduction Sciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.
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  • This article is based on a poster presented at the 1st World Congress on Women's Mental Health, Berlin, Germany, March 27–31, 2001.

* Pietro Grussu, National Health Service, Azienda ULSS nr.17 Consultorio familiare, Via Papa Giovanni XXIII Nr.1, 35043 Monselice (PD), Italy.


Abstract: Background:Despite the availability of various contraceptive options, in some Western countries most pregnancies are unplanned. The objective of this longitudinal study was to assess the influence of planned and unplanned pregnancy on women's psychological well-being and on maternal attitude toward parenting in the first years after giving birth. Methods:A sample of 119 primiparous women (88 planned and 31 unplanned pregnancies) with normal pregnancy, uncomplicated vaginal delivery, and a healthy living baby completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) instrument in the ninth month of pregnancy, and at 1, 6, and 12 months after birth, and the Parental Attitude Research Instrument (PARI) 2 years after the birth. The POMS evaluates mood disturbance and the PARI assesses maternal attitudes toward parenthood in general. Results:Women with unplanned pregnancies demonstrated a significantly more disturbed mood, both in pregnancy and in the first year after the birth. However, at approximately 2 years after childbirth there was no difference between the two groups of women in their rejection of the maternal role, and repressive and punitive maternal attitudes. Conclusions: In primiparas of middle socioeconomic levels, unplanned pregnancy is a risk factor for moderate mood disturbances rather than for an inadequate parental educational role. The study findings demonstrate the need to prevent unplanned pregnancies, and to offer immediate health assistance when particular conditions arise. (BIRTH 32:2 June 2005)