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A Review of the Effects of Anxiety During Pregnancy on Children’s Health

Zohreh Shahhosseini, Mehdi Pourasghar, Alireza Khalilian, Fariba Salehi.

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Background: Although pregnancy is often portrayed as a time of great joy, that’s not the reality for all women. The adverse, long-term, stable, and sometimes, irreparable effects of anxiety during pregnancy can change pregnancy into an agonizing and unpleasant event of women’s life span. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the adverse effects of anxiety in pregnancy on children’s health in order to promote child health. Methods: In this narrative review the researchers searched in public databases like Google Scholar general search engine, and then more specific: Science Direct, Scientific Information Database, Magiran, Irandoc, Pubmed, Scopus, Cochrane library, and Psych info using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) keywords: anxiety, maternal anxiety, pregnancy, pregnancy outcome, control and prevention restricted to English / Persian language, during the 20 years ago. Then those articles written by renowned experts were selected. At first, a list of 60 papers generated from the initial search. Then reviewers studied titles and abstracts and finally, quality assessment of full text studies was performed by two independent reviewers. Researchers reviewed summary of all articles sought, ultimately used data from 25 full articles to compile this review paper. Results: The findings were classified into four groups: Biological, Mental, Behavioral, and Medical effects of anxiety during pregnancy. Conclusions: The effects of anxiety during pregnancy on offspring’s health are serious and thought-provoking to which the need for identifying and screening of anxiety disorders in prenatal care is necessary.

Key words: Anxiety, Pregnancy, Pregnancy outcome, Narrative review

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