A Theoretical Approach to Multidimensional Stress Experienced During Pregnancy by Women Who Conceive Via in Vitro Fertilization
This chapter examines the existing literature about stress during pregnancies conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to ascertain the extent to which this literature supports Lobel et al’s conceptualization of stress. Research indicates that IVF is stressful. However, it is unknown whether the stress of the IVF procedure carries into the pregnancies, and it is also unknown whether the stress levels are higher than those of women who conceive without assistance. The most measured negative emotional response is anxiety, with the contextually related form of anxiety being pregnancy-related anxiety. The chapter discusses country of origin, ethnicity and cultural identity, and gestational age in terms of general and pregnancy-specific anxieties. It is essential that research determines whether standardization of care is necessary for managing the psychological needs of women who become pregnant through IVF, so that stress does not exact long-term harm on women and their babies.