Purpose: To assess the risks that maternal panic disorder (PD) during pregnancy contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes, with the effects further specifically differentiated into mothers who experienced a panic attack during pregnancy and those who did not. Method: This study linked two nationwide population-based datasets: the birth certificate registry and the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Dataset. We identified a total of 371 women who gave birth from 2001 to 2003, who had been diagnosed with PD within 2 years prior to the index delivery, together with 1585 matched women without this chronic disease as a comparison cohort. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate odds ratios. Results: Results indicated that compared to women without chronic disease, PD mothers who experienced panic manifestations during pregnancy and those who did not were independently associated with respective 2.29- (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.14-4.60) and 1.45-fold (95% CI = 1.03-2.04) increased risks of having small-for-gestational-age infants. Further, for PD mothers who experienced a panic attack during gestation, the adjusted odds ratio for having a preterm delivery was 2.54 (95% CI = 1.09-5.93), whereas no significant difference was identified between PD women who did not have a panic attack during pregnancy and women without PD. Limitation: Our study was unable to investigate the effects of such risk factors as dietary habits, cigarette smoking, and alcohol use in the regression model. Conclusion: We conclude that prenatal PD, particularly the occurrence of panic attacks during pregnancy, was associated with adverse birth outcomes.
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