Correlates of anxiety symptoms during pregnancy and association with perinatal outcomes: a meta-analysis

Heather L. Littleton, Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, Abbey B. Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify correlates of anxiety symptoms during pregnancy and determine the strength of the relationship between anxiety symptoms and adverse perinatal outcomes. Study Design: A meta-analytic review was conducted of studies that evaluated the relationship between self-reported anxiety symptoms during pregnancy and potential correlates or perinatal outcomes. Results: Fifty studies of 48 samples of women met inclusion criteria. Anxiety symptoms during pregnancy were associated with a number of psychosocial variables including depressive symptoms (r = 0.66), stress (r = 0.40), and self-esteem/self-worth (r = -0.47). There were no significant associations of anxiety symptoms with perinatal outcomes (all rs < 0.19). Conclusion: Anxiety symptoms during pregnancy appear to be associated with similar psychosocial variables as anxiety at other times. There is no evidence of an association of anxiety symptoms with adverse perinatal outcomes among those studied thus far. However, significant gaps still exist in the literature in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Apgar score
  • anxiety
  • birthweight
  • perinatal outcomes
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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