Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Anxiety: an invisible complication of pregnancy

Depression is commonly diagnosed during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. While it is largely recognised as a problem, anxiety is often misdiagnosed as depression. Anxiety during pregnancy and in the postpartum period can hinder maternal-infant bonding and manifest as an inability to cope. Pregnant and postpartum women should be screened for anxiety disorders frequently to engage in proper treatment.

Catherine A. Pankonien
Assistant Professor

Sandra M. Groth
Assistant Professor

Cesar Alvarado
Assistant Professor

Midwestern State University, Wilson School of Nursing, Wichita Falls, Texas, USA

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maternal anxiety; postpartum anxiety; postpartum depression
Key points
  1. Anxiety is often misdiagnosed as depression and treatments may not work effectively.
  2. Postpartum anxiety can negatively affect the maternal-infant bond and subsequently breastfeeding.
  3. Healthcare professionals can support pregnant and postpartum women by recognising the difference between anxiety and depression and providing education and support for women to seek help.

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