Inspecting the Expecting: Psychosocial Health and Stress during Pregnancy in Rural Panama
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPregnancy is an energetically expensive and vulnerable time in a woman’s life. High levels of stress experienced during this time can have long-lasting effects on both the mother and the child; including low birth weight, preterm birth, and downstream physiological and behavioral syndromes. This study looks at how psychosocial stress and pregnancy interact in one setting in rural Panama, in order to begin to form a more global picture of the experiences of stress in relation to maternal and child health. Pregnant women do not necessarily experience greater stress than non-pregnant women, however employed and more educated women experience more anxiety-related stress. The most prominent stressors experienced in this area in Panama were determined, through focus group interviews, to be: death of a family member, personal chronic illness, and loss of financial resources. Time was also spent in various rural communities around the city of Penonomé collecting ethnographic data to gain a better understanding of the context in which the stress was experienced. These results can help us to put together a better picture of psychosocial stress and to begin to come up with community-specific solutions to a larger, global issue.
Degree ProgramHonors College