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Aurora magazine

Screened to diagnose anxiety during pregnancy

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open aims to improve the diagnosis of anxiety in pregnancy. The authors have in fact developed a type of specific screening for future mothers. In this way we will identify more cases of prenatal anxiety, which today tend to remain undiagnosed and therefore not treated.

For now, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends traditional diagnostic tools. According to the study, however, these may not be sufficient for pregnant women. In fact, traditional screenings aim at symptoms such as palpitation and difficulty in getting to sleep, but they are also common in non-problematic pregnancies. As a result, researchers at Nursing, the Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU) have developed a more specific screening.

Researchers have identified a number of specific symptoms for prenatal anxiety. To this end, they have evaluated all the studies conducted on the topic in recent years. To get more accurate results, they used anxiety scales even on pregnant and healthy women. In this way they identified symptoms much more relevant to this precise area, which could become reliable indicators of prenatal anxiety.

Prenatal anxiety symptoms identified include: excessive concerns about one's health and that of the child; panic; fear of childbirth. If left untreated, all these symptoms can result in a real depression, with negative consequences for the mother and the child. Thanks to the study, however, will fall into a new scale to be used for screening in pregnant women.