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FM Lai, CCM Ng, GSH Yeo
Correspondence: Dr Lai Fon-Min, email@example.com
Introduction To assess anxiety levels in mothers with low-risk pregnancies before and after offering routine serum screening.
Methods A prospective study was carried out at the Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore from February 2000 to August 2000. We used standard statistical analysis and Spielberger's state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) which consists of 40 items to assess anxiety. Anxiety levels were assessed at several stages: before serum screening counselling, after counselling but before serum screening, before the routine 20-week obstetrical screening ultrasound scan, and after ultrasound scan results were acknowledged four to six weeks later. As the STAI questionnaire has only been validated for an English-speaking population, only English-speaking women were recruited for the study. The subjects included 111 women between 15 to 20 weeks gestation that were randomly selected (without any risk factors) for serum screening counselling.
Results Anxiety levels did not decline significantly after counselling by a trained nurse-counsellor. They were highest prior to counselling and were significantly higher compared to all other times in which anxiety was assessed. Anxiety levels were lowest after the serum screening and routine 20-week screening ultrasound scan results were acknowledged. They were also significantly lower compared to all other times in which anxiety was assessed.
Conclusion Anxiety before serum screening was not abnormally high and routine serum screening offered by trained nurse counsellors did not significantly increase maternal anxiety in mothers with low risk pregnancies.
Keywords: anxiety, Down syndrome, maternal serum screening, state-trait anxiety inventory
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(8): 375-378