DOI: 10.5176/2315-4330_WNC16.50

Authors: Rebecca Jo Helmreich


The psychosocial distress factors of depression, anxiety and stress are precursors for numerous poor outcomes that may be associated with physiologic changes in the autonomic vagal response that often result in perinatal complications. This study investigated the impact of the psychosocial factors on vagal response and blood pressure in 20 obese and 20 non-obese pregnant women at one point in time between 20 and 30 weeks gestation. While depression and prenatal anxiety were significantly higher for the non-obese women, blood pressure was highest for the obese women. Monitoring psychosocial distress and physiologic indicators may permit early detection and intervention to improve perinatal outcomes

Keywords: vagal response, blood pressure, depression, anxiety, stress, obesity, pregnancy

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