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Keywords:

  • pregnancy;
  • prenatal distress;
  • woman

Aims and objectives

To assess: (1) the prenatal distress level in Turkish pregnant women and (2) to examine the association between prenatal maternal distress and personal and pregnancy-specific factors.

Background

Pregnant women experience stress originating from a variety of pregnancy-specific issues, including physical symptoms and changes, changes in body image, physiological, social and emotional changes, parenting concerns, changes in relationships with significant others, medical problems, anxiety about labour and delivery, concerns about birth and the baby's health.

Design

A descriptive cross-sectional study.

Methods

This study was conducted at a gynaecology clinic of a private hospital in Istanbul, Turkey within a 12-month period. The study sample comprised 522 pregnant women continuing their regular visits for prenatal care. Pregnancy Description Form and Turkish Version of Revised Version of Prenatal Distress Questionnaire [(NUPDQ)-17 Item Version] were used for data collection.

Results

Study sample was moderately distressed. Turkish pregnant women were mostly distressed and concerned about premature delivery, having an unhealthy baby, labour and delivery, feeling tired and having low energy during pregnancy. Prenatal distress in Turkish pregnant women was associated with personal and pregnancy-related characteristics.

Conclusions

This study found that pregnant women need to be supported emotionally, physically and socially. A better understanding of prenatal maternal distress could assist in informing healthcare professionals about the provision of physically, emotionally, socially and behaviourally appropriate support for achieving a healthy pregnancy.

Relevance to clinical practice

It is crucial for pregnant women to be regularly assessed and educated for dealing successfully with concerns and fears about prenatal period, birth and postnatal period and about difficulties that women may encounter during their pregnancy.