Date of Conferral







Robin Oatis-Ballew


Chronic stress and other emotional factors may have relevant impacts on pregnancy outcomes because they are related to neuroendocrine changes that lead to alterations in immunomodulation during pregnancy. In this quantitative prospective cross-sectional study, the relationship of emotional lability, depression, and stress during pregnancy and the development of preterm labor, preeclampsia, placental abruption, and low birth weight for gestational age babies was examined. Additionally, social support scores were compared to levels of stress/anxiety, depression, and emotional lability in pregnant women. Two hundred and forty two pregnant women who received prenatal services at the National Institute of Perinatology in Mexico City were evaluated during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy and followed until pregnancy termination. Logistic regression analyses showed that being single significantly predicted preeclampsia and preterm birth, and the presence of social support significantly decreased the likelihood of preterm birth development. In the logistic regression model, family income significantly predicted the development of abruptio placentae. MANCOVA results revealed a significant difference among the social support categories on the combined dependent variables (stress/anxiety, depression, and emotional lability). The ANCOVA reported significant differences between social support scores, and stress/anxiety and depression scores. ANCOVA also showed significant differences between the number of pregnancies and stress scores. A 2X2 factorial analysis of variance showed a significant main effect of stress and depression on newborn weight. By promoting awareness of the importance of emotional factors during pregnancy among healthcare workers and pregnant women, this study contributed to positive social change.