The objective of this study was to explore how maternal mood during pregnancy, i.e., general anxiety, pregnancy-specific anxiety, and depression predicted parenting stress 3 months after giving birth, thereby shaping the child’s early postnatal environmental circumstances. To this end, data were used from 1073 women participating in the Dutch longitudinal cohort Generations2, which studies first-time pregnant mothers during pregnancy and across the transition to parenthood. Women filled out the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Pregnancy-Related Anxiety Questionnaire-revised (PRAQ-R), and Beck Depression Index (BDI) three times during pregnancy: at 12, 22, and 32 weeks gestational age. Three months postpartum, a parenting stress questionnaire was filled out yielding seven different parenting constructs. Latent scores were computed for each of the repeatedly measured maternal mood variables with Mplus and parenting stress constructs were simultaneously regressed on these latent scores. Results showed that trait anxiety and pregnancy-specific anxiety were uniquely related to almost all parenting stress constructs, taking depression into account. Early prevention and intervention to reduce maternal anxiety in pregnancy could hold the key for a more advantageous trajectory of early postnatal parenting.
- Parenting stress
- Pregnancy anxiety