Journal of Japan Academy of Midwifery
Online ISSN : 1882-4307
Print ISSN : 0917-6357
ISSN-L : 0917-6357
A survey of the variety, incidence rate, and frequency of minor symptoms currently experienced by expectant mothers
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2009 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 48-58


This research sought to clarify the variety, manifestation period, incidence rate, and frequency of minor symptoms (hereafter, MS) currently experienced by expectant mothers.
Questionnaires were distributed to 623 expectant mothers (56 first trimester, 201 second trimester, 366 third trimester; 28.1±8.0 mean gestational weeks) who were present for medical examinations in Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Departments of 11 hospitals throughout Japan. The questionnaire inquired about 95 symptoms gathered from previous research, studies related to MS, and interviews with expectant mothers and puerperal women asking about symptoms during pregnancy.
Of participants who exhibited symptoms more than 50% experienced 45 of the 95 symptoms. Forty-seven symptoms with high incident rates (more than 50%) or high frequency rates (from "often present" to "always present") were designated as MS for this study. Fatigue, increased urinary frequency, and general malaise were experienced at a high frequency by more than 90% of participants. Each participant experienced from 2 to 46 MS. The average number of MS per participant was 27.0 (±10.4). There was no significant difference in the number of MS by parity. Not-employed participants experienced more MS than employed participants, and in particular, not-employed primipara experienced a higher number of MS. When comparing first, second, and third trimester participants, no significant difference was found in the number of MS, however, high incidence MS did differ. After factor analysis of the 47 MS the following five groups of symptoms were extracted: "muscle and joint pain related to fetal development", "upper gastrointestinal", "sleep related", "constipation related", and "negative psychological".
The results of this study identified MS not found in previous research and changes in the incidence rate of MS, which may be attributed to alterations in the expectant mother's lifestyle, environment, and employment status. Because the appearance of MS with high incidence rates differ according to trimester or individual attributes this study suggests the importance of providing expectant mothers with timely health care advice and education that is appropriate to their condition.

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© 2009 Japan Academy of Midwifery
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