Decreased startle modulation during anticipation in the postpartum period in comparison to late pregnancy
2012 (English)In: Archives of Women's Mental Health, ISSN 1434-1816, E-ISSN 1435-1102, Vol. 15, no 2, 87-94 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Knowledge about healthy women's psychophysiological adaptations during the large neuroendocrine changes of pregnancy and childbirth is essential in order to understand why these events have the potential to disrupt mental health in vulnerable individuals. This study aimed to compare startle response modulation, an objective psychophysiological measure demonstrated to be influenced by anxiety and depression, longitudinally across late pregnancy and the postpartum period. The acoustic startle response modulation was assessed during anticipation of affective images and during image viewing in 31 healthy women during gestational weeks 36-39 and again at 4 to 6 weeks postpartum. No startle modulation by affective images was observed at either time point. Significant modulation during anticipation stimuli was found at pregnancy assessment but was reduced in the postpartum period. The women rated the unpleasant images more negative and more arousing and the pleasant images more positive at the postpartum assessment. Self-reported anxiety and depressive symptoms did not change between assessments. The observed postpartum decrease in modulation of startle by anticipation suggests a relatively deactivated defense system in the postpartum period.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 15, no 2, 87-94 p.
Acoustic startle response, Affective modulation, Anticipation, Postpartum, Pregnancy
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-175634DOI: 10.1007/s00737-012-0261-7ISI: 000304169100002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-175634DiVA: diva2:532679