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Mental Health - Obstetrics - Public Health and Epidemiology - Women's Health

Amniocentesis, Maternal Psychopathology and Prenatal Representations of Attachment: A Prospective Comparative Study
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Author: Wissam El-Hage et al.

by Wissam El-Hage, Julie Léger, Aude Delcuze, Bruno Giraudeau, Franck Perrotin


The aim of the study was to characterize the maternal dimensions of anxiety, depression and prenatal attachment in women undergoing an amniocentesis.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A prospective observational study was conducted. Women were referred to early amniocentesis for increased nuchal translucency, elevated biochemical markers or advanced maternal age. All participants had 3 prenatal (16–18, 20–24, 30–34 weeks of gestation) and one postnatal (30–45 days) interviews reviewing for demographic, medical, and psychiatric information (STAI State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; EPDS: Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; IRMAG: Interview of Maternal Representations of Attachment during pregnancy). We investigated 232 pregnant women who undergone an amniocentesis compared with 160 pregnant controls. Following the procedure, the amniocentesis group experienced transiently significantly higher levels of state-anxiety on the STAI (44.6 vs. 39.3) and depression as measured by the EPDS (9.4 vs. 6.3) than the controls. Overall in both groups, the maternal representations of attachment were well integrated and balanced, but the amniocentesis group experienced significantly more mother-directed representations.


Amniocentesis is associated with higher affective adaptive reactions that tend to normalize during the pregnancy, with overall preserved maternal fetal representations of attachment.