Article Critique Stress Processes in Pregnancy and Preterm Birth
STRESS PROCESSES IN PREGNANCY AND PRETERM BIRTH 1
Schetter, C. D. (2009). Stressprocesses in pregnancy and preterm birth. CurrentDirections in Psychological Science, 18(4),205-209.
The author of the article, Christine Dunkel Schetter, discusses thecauses and effects of preterm birth (birth before normal gestationperiod) on pregnant women and children in the United States. Shestarts by making an observation that some race and ethnic groups aresignificantly influenced by preterm birth (PTB), with theAfrican-American women being the most vulnerable as a result ofvarious factors. Among these factors are stress, poor lifestyle,poverty, and overworking. The author continues to discuss the risksof preterm birth to the health of both the mother and the child.
Since the infants spend less time in the womb as a result of PTB, itrisks having less weight like other normal infants and has a higherprobability of suffering complications such as immune, sensory,central nervous system and gastrointestinal problems. On the otherhand, mothers are more likely to suffer depression after PTB.However, Christine argues that stress is the main cause of PTB. Sheexplains that African-American women suffer PTB twice as compared towhite women due to stress caused by poverty, divorce, discriminationand anxiety, among other factors. Physical strain during pregnancy isanother factor that may result in occupational stress, although itcannot be quantified. The author adds sicknesses, inflammation andinfections such as during pregnancy bacterial vaginal infection,systematic maternal infection, periodontitis, and intrauterine asother factors that may trigger PTB.
The author’s observations are true, possible, and infer with otherprevious research studies on PTB and pregnancy. For instance, “theWorld Health Organization (WHO) warned of the rise of PTB in theUnited States in 2015 and stated that approximately one out of teninfants was born before 37 weeks of pregnancy” (Bronstein, 2016).The organization named African-American women as the most affected inthe country. Other marginalized groups such as the Mexican-Americanwere not left out in the study. There are numerous health and socialfactors that can be attributed to the mentioned variations.
Moreover, it is correct that the health and environment aroundpregnant women affect the unborn child. Unhealthy lifestyle such assmoking and other health problems including high blood pressure,diabetes, preeclampsia, and blood clotting have also been connectedwith PTB in the United States. A study by the American PregnancyAssociation concurs with the article in that “an estimated 46percent of children born between twenty-two and twenty-five weeks haddisabilities such as hearing or vision challenges, learning problems,and cerebral palsy while that 34 percent were mildly disabled andother 20 percent had no disabilities” (Goepfert, 2012). Finally,Christine’s argues that stress and anxiety increase high-riskbehaviors which in turn adversely impact on the pregnancy.
I find this article elaborate and precise in describing the causes ofPTB and its impacts to the infant and mother. It is also informativeand especially to women who may be at the risk of experiencingpreterm birth, also referred to as premature birth. Moreover, itcalls for unity and equal treatment for all people irrespective ofrace or ethnicity. Although this article is factual and true, it doesnot address all the possibilities thus the need for more researchstudy on this subject. For instance, there is no scale available tomeasure the levels of stress as it depends on an individualperspective. Also, the author does not specify the type of jobs thatmay be risky to the pregnancy.
Bronstein, J. M. (2016). Preterm Birth in the United States: ASociocultural Approach. Birmingham: Springer.
Goepfert, A. (2012). Management of preterm birth: best practices inprediction, prevention, and treatment. Obstetrics & GynecologyClinics of North America, 39 (1), 11-16.
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