Perception of Teratogenic Risk and the Rated Likelihood of Pregnancy Termination: Association with Maternal Depression

Asnat Walfisch, Corey Sermer, Ilan Matok, Adrienne Einarson, Gideon Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Women are often exposed to various medications and medical conditions during pregnancy. Unrealistically high maternal teratogenic risk perception, related to these exposures, may lead to abrupt discontinuation of therapy and (or) termination of a wanted pregnancy. The association between maternal depression and the teratogenic risk perception has not been studied, nor were the actions resulting from this perception. Our objectives were to explore the association between maternal depression, teratogenic risk perception, and the rated likelihood to terminate pregnancy. Additionally, we evaluated possible benefits of counselling. Methods: We administered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to all women who attended the Motherisk Clinic between October 2007 and April 2010. A visual analogue scale was used to determine maternal risk perception in relation to the specific exposure, and the rated likelihood to terminate the pregnancy, before and after counselling. Results: We analyzed data from 413 women. Maternal teratogenic risk perception and the rated likelihood to terminate the pregnancy were significantly lower following counselling. An EPDS score of 13 or more was significantly associated with a higher rated likelihood to terminate the pregnancy (P = 0.03). In a multivariable regression analysis, an EPDS score of 13 or more was found to be an independent predictor of a higher personal teratogenic risk perception (P = 0.03). Conclusions: Both maternal depression and exposure-directed counselling are associated with maternal risk perception and the rated likelihood to terminate pregnancy. Appropriate counselling may reduce fear of teratogenicity and the likelihood of pregnancy termination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Counselling
  • Edinburgh postnatal depression scale
  • Maternal depression
  • Teratogenic risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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