Does prenatal screening influence anxiety levels of pregnant women? A longitudinal randomised controlled trial

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Objectives: Questions addressed are: (1) Does offering prenatal screening increase anxiety? (2) Does receiving a negative screening result make women less anxious and does a positive screening result make women more anxious? (3) What are the long-term consequences on anxiety of offering screening and receiving a screening result? Methods: Women were offered prenatal screening or no screening in a randomised controlled trial. State anxiety (STAI) and child-related anxiety (PRAQ-R) were measured. Questionnaires were filled in before prenatal screening was offered (T1), after the offer (T2), after the test result (T3), and in the third trimester of pregnancy (T4). Results: Child-related anxiety levels were higher in women who chose to be screened compared to women who declined screening. Offering prenatal screening did not lead to increased anxiety levels. General anxiety increased in positively screened women, but decreased later in pregnancy. Women who were negatively screened or declined screening scored lower than the control group. Conclusion: For most women, offering prenatal screening and receiving the test result do not adversely affect anxiety. Giving pregnant women a choice to have prenatal screening done seems to have a small favourable effect on general feelings of anxiety.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)354-361
Number of pages8
JournalPrenatal diagnosis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Prenatal screening

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