Maternal Anxiety, Depression, and Stress during Pregnancy and Neonatal Growth Indices at Birth

  • Zahra Nafei Children Growth Disorder Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
  • Elahe Zare Department of Pediatrics, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
  • Tahereh Sadeghieh Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research Center of Addiction and Behavioral Sciences, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
Keywords: Maternal; Anxiety; Depression; Stress; Neonatal; Growth indices


Background: Anxiety, depression, and stress during the pregnancy period are usually overlooked in women despite their detrimental effects on the mother and infant. Studies have shown an increase in the risk of behavioral and psychological problems in an infant's life because of the mother's exposure to negative excitement and stress before childbirth. In the present study, we aimed to assess the effect of maternal anxiety, depression, and stress during pregnancy on neonatal growth indices at birth.

Methods: This longitudinal survey was done on 102 pregnant women referred to the obstetrics clinic of Shahid Sadoughi Hospital of Yazd for prenatal care from September 2019 to March 2020. They were asked to fulfill two questionnaires related to the study. After delivery, the further information and growth indices of neonates were extracted by telephone.

Results: Regardless of the severity of depression, anxiety, and stress, a significant relationship was found between maternal age and stress (P= 0.033), so in mothers with younger age, pregnancy stress was more. Moreover, the study showed a significant relationship between height and maternal anxiety (P = 0.018).

Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study and due to the possible association of neonatal indices with maternal anxiety, depression, and stress during pregnancy, more attention to maternal emotional health seems necessary.