Development and validation of a pregnancy symptoms inventory
Background: Physical symptoms are common in pregnancy and are predominantly associated with normal physiological changes. These symptoms have a social and economic cost, leading to absenteeism from work and additional medical interventions. There is currently no simple method for identifying common pregnancy related problems in the antenatal period. A validated tool, for use by pregnancy care providers would be useful. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a Pregnancy Symptoms Inventory for use by health professionals.
Methods: A list of symptoms was generated via expert consultation with health professionals. Focus groups were conducted with pregnant women. The inventory was tested for face validity and piloted for readability and comprehension. For test-re-test reliability, the tool was administered to the same women 2 to 3 days apart. Finally, midwives trialled the inventory for 1 month and rated its usefulness on a 10cm visual analogue scale (VAS).
Results: A 41-item Likert inventory assessing how often symptoms occurred and what effect they had, was developed. Individual item test re-test reliability was between .51 to 1, the majority (34 items) scoring ≥0.70. The top four “often” reported symptoms were urinary frequency (52.2%), tiredness (45.5%), poor sleep (27.5%) and back pain (19.5%). Among the women surveyed, 16.2% claimed to sometimes or often be incontinent. Referrals to the incontinence nurse increased > 8 fold during the study period.
Conclusions: The PSI provides a comprehensive inventory of pregnancy related symptoms, with a mechanism for assessing their effect on function. It was robustly developed, with good test re-test reliability, face validity, comprehension and readability. This provides a validated tool for assessing the impact of interventions in pregnancy.
Publication titleBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statement© 2013 Foxcroft et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/