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OBJECTIVE: to explore the factor structure of the Prenatal Distress Questionnaire (PDQ), which aims to assess worries and concerns related to pregnancy. DESIGN: cross-sectional survey of 263 low-risk pregnant women attending a regional maternity centre in Northern Ireland. Participants completed the PDQ and a series of questions on socio-demographic characteristics between 22 and 28 weeks of gestation. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted using principal axis factoring with promax rotation. FINDINGS: analysis of individual questionnaire items showed that items exploring concerns about healthy diet, irritating physical symptoms, and anxiety about labour and birth evoked the highest reported stress in low-risk pregnant women. Exploratory factor analysis of all 12 items making up the PDQ identified three factors: concerns about birth and the baby, concerns about weight/body image, and concerns about emotions and relationships. CONCLUSIONS: the PDQ is a short, easy-to-complete questionnaire that has good face, concurrent validity and internal consistency. In this study, the three factors identified from the 12 items making up the PDQ are in keeping with factors found in other pregnancy-specific measures of stress and anxiety, and with data from descriptive studies. Current research suggests that PDQ has the potential to identify and allow for clinical intervention that might prevent preterm labour and postnatal complications associated with pregnancy-specific stress. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: awareness of what makes women anxious can help midwives to target specific aspects of pregnancy-specific stress and to introduce relevant support.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





553 - 559


Adaptation, Psychological, Adult, Anxiety, Attitude to Health, Cross-Sectional Studies, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Humans, Maternal Welfare, Northern Ireland, Pregnancy, Pregnant Women, Prenatal Care, Reproducibility of Results, Surveys and Questionnaires, Young Adult