Stress and anxiety associated with lack of access to maternity services for rural parturient women


Jude Kornelsen, Centre for Rural Health Research, epartment of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, 530 – 1501 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6J 4Z6. Email:


Objective: The objective of this study is to compare the level of stress and anxiety between women resident in communities with different degrees of access to local maternity services.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Fifty-two communities across rural British Columbia with different levels of access to maternity care services (ranging from no services to local specialist obstetrician).

Participants: A total of 187 women, 40 of whom were from communities with no local access to services.

Main outcome measures: Stress score on the R ural Pregnancy Experience Scale including financial and continuity of care subscales.

Results: Parturient women who had to travel more than one hour to access services were 7.4 times more likely to experience moderate or severe stress when compared to women who had local access to maternity services.

Conclusions: Lack of access is strongly associated with stress in rural parturient women.