The experience of pregnancy: Does age or mode of conception matter?

Karin Hammarberg*, Karen Wynter, Jane Fisher, John McBain, Frances Gibson, Jacky Boivin, Catherine McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the influence of age and mode of conception on women's perceptions of pregnancy-specific daily stressors. Background: The age of childbearing and the proportion of women conceiving with assisted reproductive technology (ART) are increasing. There is little existing evidence about whether older age or ART conception affects women's perceptions of pregnancy-specific daily stressors. Methods: Approximately equal numbers of nulliparous women who had conceived spontaneously and with ART in three age groups (≤ 30, 31-36, ≥ 37) were recruited through ART clinics and nearby hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. In the third trimester participants were interviewed and completed questionnaires including questions relating to their socioeconomic circumstances and reproductive history, and standardised instruments of mood, health and the perception of the positive and negative aspects of pregnancy during the third trimester. Results: Participants were 564 women aged 20-51 years of whom 285 (50.5%) had conceived with ART. In univariate analyses older maternal age and ART conception was associated with a more positive experience of pregnancy. However, when controlling for physical health and sociodemographic and psychological factors only, lower scores on the measures of anxiety and not being in the paid work force in the third trimester made independent contributions to more positive perceptions of pregnancy. Conclusion: Pregnancy-specific daily stressors are not influenced by maternal age or ART conception. Not being in the paid workforce in late pregnancy and being less anxious contribute to a more positive experience of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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