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Anxiety disorders during pregnancy and postpartum were more prevalent than previously thought

Many mothers have probably heard of postpartum depression, but what about postpartum fear?

According to UBC researcher Nichole Fairbrother, this type of anxiety is not well understood and deserves more attention. In a meta-analysis published recently in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Fairbrother and her colleague found that one in five pregnant women experiences at least one type of anxiety disorder.

Nichole Fairbrother

In this Q&A, Fairbrother, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the laboratory for perinatal anxiety in UBC, explains perinatal and postpartum anxiety, and why is there a need for improved anxiety screening for expectant and new mothers by midwives and gynecologists.

What effect does a mother's anxiety have on her baby?

Maternal anxiety is associated with a number of negative outcomes, including miscarriage and high blood pressure during pregnancy, with strong evidence for delivery beforehand and low birth weight. It's true evidence that if moms are really worried, it can affect in ways they communicate with their baby, that they are a little less capable than less responsive. Anxiety about mother is also associated with the baby not so well at rest. Children of mothers who have high scores for anxiety also have a significantly increased risk of ADHD.

It is important to consider cautiously, but that does not mean that treating a mother for fear does not have a positive effect on the child either.

How to determine the difference between healthy levels of anxiety and problematic anxiety?

It is completely normal and healthy for all of us to experience some degree of anxiety and some variation in mood. What we are looking for is anxiety that an individual causes a significant amount of anxiety or limits the ability of that person to live their lives normally. For example, someone with obsessive-compulsive discomfort who can do a lot of control or washing behavior may not be able to get to work. It doesn't always have to be so extreme, but that's what we see if we judge the problem.

What is the most effective treatment for fear of prenatal and postpartum?

Apart from pregnancy and postpartum, the evidence is clear that for most anxieties and related circumstances, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment. It has been found to be as effective as effective as a medication for the majority of anxieties and related disorders. What makes CBT so compelling is that if you receive a CBT course, it offers protection against collapse, which means you can stop the treatment. It's something that really matters to receiving a course of treatment that you control and understand and understand.

The meta-analysis was jointly authored by researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland and University College of London.

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