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CCM Ng, FM Lai, GSH Yeo
Correspondence: Dr Christopher Ng Chee Mun, email@example.com
Introduction To assess anxiety levels in mothers before and after undergoing amniocentesis. The secondary aim was to see how counselling by nurse-counsellors affected maternal anxiety levels.
Methods A prospective study was carried out from February 2000 to August 2000 at the Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore. We used standard statistical analysis and Spielberger's state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI), that consisted of 40 items, to assess anxiety levels. Anxiety levels were assessed at different stages: before and after counselling; before amniocentesis and after amniocentesis; when results were disclosed; and after the routine 20-week screening ultrasound scan was acknowledged four to six weeks later. English-speaking women were recruited for the study as the STAI questionnaire has only been validated for an English-speaking population. 195 at-risk mothers (advanced maternal age, abnormal nuchal translucency on ultrasound scan, previous abnormal baby and high-risk maternal serum screening results) and patients requesting for amniocentesis between 15 to 20 weeks gestation were recruited.
Results 156 mothers agreed to amniocentesis. 38 mothers declined amniocentesis. S-anxiety levels declined significantly after counselling by trained nurse-counsellors in all mothers counselled. S-anxiety levels were highest and significantly higher compared to all other times just prior to amniocentesis despite counselling. Anxiety levels were the lowest and significantly lower compared to all other times at the last assessment stage.
Conclusion High level of anxiety prior to amniocentesis despite counselling is understandable due to the invasive nature of the procedure. There is no long-lasting post-procedural anxiety to the mother.
Keywords: amniocentesis, anxiety, Down syndrome, state-trait anxiety inventory
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(8): 370-374