Examining to what extent pregnancy-related physical symptoms worry women in the first trimester of pregnancy: a cross-sectional study in general practice.BJGP Open 2019BO
Women often wish to discuss their pregnancy symptoms with their GP. However, the two parties' understanding of symptoms may not be aligned.
To examine to what degree a specific pregnancy-related symptom worried women in the first trimester and analyse the characteristics of the most worried women.
DESIGN & SETTING
A cross-sectional study was performed in general practice in Denmark from 1 March 2015-15 August 2016.
Women attending the first prenatal care visit completed a questionnaire about pregnancy-related physical symptoms and worries. Women were recruited from 125 GP practices and 294 GPs participated in the study. Further data were obtained from their pregnancy health record. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess the associations between the women's worries and the severity of the symptoms, which were adjusted for age and parity.
A total of 1508 women, aged 16-45 years, were included and 1455 completed the questionnaire. Nausea, vomiting, pelvic cavity pain, and back pain were the most common symptoms, and 88% reported having two or more symptoms simultaneously. Among the 1278 women reporting nausea, only 21% were worried, while 88% of the 252 women reporting vaginal bleeding were worried. Primigravidae (those pregnant for the first time) were significantly more worried about vomiting and nausea than multigravidae (those who have experienced pregnancy previously). Those aged >35 years were more worried about pelvic girdle pain and pelvic cavity pain than younger women.
Pregnancy-related physical symptoms are frequent in the first trimester. The severity of worries depends on the symptom. Vaginal bleeding and pain give rise to the majority of severe worries, especially among young women.