Anxiety and functional status after childbirth
This prospective longitudinal study explored the relationship between anxiety and functional status after childbirth. Two hundred new mothers aged 20 to 35 years who experienced a normal pregnancy and delivered a healthy term infant were surveyed using the Inventory of Functional Status After Childbirth and Spielberger's State Anxiety Inventory. All participants attended maternal child health centres in regional New South Wales, Australia. Results revealed a significant increase in functional status during the first six months postpartum and significant correlations were found between functional status and maternal anxiety at six weeks, three months and six months postpartum. The more anxious mothers were also significantly more likely than less anxious mothers to have an unsettled baby, a baby that slept fewer hours at night and were significantly less satisfied with motherhood. Assessing maternal anxiety levels may assist midwives identify women at risk of parenting difficulties and psychological distress postpartum.