Pregnant women who are at risk of preterm birth are often stressed, anxious and depressed because of worries and fears related to the health of the unborn baby, their own health and uncertainty about the future. Only a few studies have assessed the types of psychological support that would relieve these stress symptoms among women with high-risk pregnancies. The aim of this study was to describe

1) how women at risk of preterm birth experienced an interactive 3/4-dimensional (3/4D) ultrasound examination

2) their need for psychological support during the antenatal period

Link to the research article

Pregnant women presenting a risk of preterm delivery have a higher risk to develop depression and anxiety symptoms. As maternal stress further increases the risk of preterm birth as well as adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes, it is essential to provide psychological support to women at risk. A university hospital in Finland conducted a pilot study including 13 women presenting risks of preterm delivery.

The study focused on three main axes to increase the future mother’s general wellbeing. During ultrasound sessions, under the guidance of a psychologist and obstetrician, emphasis was placed on including the mother as an active participant, considering the fetus as a real person rather than an object, and strengthening mental images of the baby. Taken together, these simple changes awakened emotions and reinforced the mother-baby bond. Although the sample size was a limitation, this study provides promising information about reducing the stress in high-risk pregnancy and encourages practitioners to adopt a more personalized approach.

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