Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if having a partner deployed during wartime increased the stress levels in pregnant women and altered their attitudes toward pregnancy. Methods: We administered a cross-sectional survey of all military and civilian women attending the antenatal clinic at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. We collected the anonymous surveys in May 2003. The survey measured demographics, self-reported stress level, and other attitudes toward the pregnancy and deployment; blood pressure was recorded. Data were compared by partner deployment status and reported stress levels using chi-square, t-tests, and logistic regression analysis. Results: Two hundred seventy-nine surveys were returned, representing 93.3% of those distributed. An almost equal number of patients had a partner deployed as nondeployed (49.1% versus 50.9%). Women with deployed partners were older, more had children at home, more often reported both significantly higher stress levels and a severe impact of the deployment on their stress, had a lower systolic blood pressure, more often reported changed eating habits, and reported that media coverage of the war worsened their stress than those whose partners were not deployed. Logistic regression analysis of stress found that partner deployment, having more than one child at home, and being active-duty were associated with reporting higher stress levels (odds ratio [OR] = 2.27, p = .013; OR = 3.11, p = .042; and OR = 4.03, p = .01, respectively). Conclusions: Pregnant women with deployed partners and those with more than one child already at home report higher stress levels than their peers with partners present. Increased stress in pregnant women with deployed partners may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Further study is warranted to assess the impact of deployment on pregnancy and family life to better support homeland pregnant partners of deployed military members during wartime.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery