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Stress and its predictors in pregnant women: a study in Saudi Arabia

Authors Ahmed AE, Albalawi AN, Alshehri AA, AlBlaihed RM, Alsalamah MA

Received 2 January 2017

Accepted for publication 17 March 2017

Published 10 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 97—102


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Anwar E Ahmed,1 Alhanouf N Albalawi,2 Asmaa A Alshehri,3 Rand M AlBlaihed,2 Majid A Alsalamah4

1King Abdullah International Medical Research Center/College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences - MNGHA, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 2Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 3College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 4College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences – MNGHA, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Background: Although stress during pregnancy has negative effects on children’s development and pregnant women’s health, no study has assessed stress and its predictors among pregnant Saudi women. The aim of this study was to assess stress and identify its predictors in a sample of pregnant Saudi women.
Methods: A correlational study was carried out at King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 438 pregnant women who attended the obstetrics/gynecology clinic. We collected data on their sociodemographic and oral health status. Stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).
Results: The sample mean age was 30.6±5.4 years, and 33.4% of the sample reported high stress levels (PSS ≥20). The study revealed significantly high stress levels in women with no or low income, chronic disease, sleep deprivation, no teeth brushing, irregular eating patterns, gestational diabetes, and no family support (P<0.05). Self-reported oral health problems were significantly associated with high stress levels (P<0.05). A multiple linear regression model showed that no teeth brushing, chronic disease, sleep deprivation, gestational diabetes, and gingival redness predicted an increase in stress by a score of 3.6, 2.4, 2.1, 1.4, and 1.4, respectively.
Conclusion: It was estimated that three in ten pregnant women in King Abdulaziz Medical City reported high stress levels. Our study shed light on the relationship between healthy habits, oral health status, and perceived stress in pregnant women. This research may help health care practitioners who provide care to pregnant women, to educate them in regard to healthy habits, and to develop a program to reduce stress.

Keywords: psychosocial stress, oral health, gingivitis, gestational diabetes, pregnant women

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