Anxiety and Psychological Stress Before Prenatal Screening in First-Time Mothers Who Conceived Through IVF/ICSI or Spontaneously

Women Health. 2014;54(5):474-85. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2014.897677.


Mothers' general anxiety, anxiety about the well-being of the child and psychological stress before prenatal testing was studied by comparing women who conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with women who conceived naturally. Before the first trimester screening test for Down's syndrome, a group of 51 women who conceived through IVF/ICSI and a group of 54 women who conceived spontaneously completed the State Scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (S-Anxiety; Spielberger, 1983), the Fear of Bearing a Physically or Mentally Handicapped Child Subscale of the Pregnancy-related Anxiety Questionnaire (PRAQ-R; Huizink et al., 2004), the Psychological Stress Measure (PSM; Lemyre & Tessier, 1988), and the Prenatal Psychosocial Profile (PPP; Curry, Campbell, & Christian, 1994). Women who conceived through IVF/ICSI had more elevated levels of general anxiety and psychological stress than the women who conceived naturally; however, no difference was observed between the two groups for anxiety specifically related to the health of the child. These results underline the need to monitor women's emotional state after conception via IVF/ICSI-when counseling usually ends-and around the time of the first trimester screening. Counseling might thus be extended.

Keywords: anxiety; in vitro fertilization; pregnancy-related anxiety; prenatal screening; psychological stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Down Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy / psychology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires