Dental fears during pregnancy may be associated with changes in hormones. Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland found fluctuations in outlook on dental care in pregnant women. The most notable changes occurred in late pregnancy and soon after giving birth. The study was published in the European Journal of Oral Science.
Both mothers and fathers were recruited for the study, but the changing views on dental care during pregnancy may be most beneficial to pregnant women. Based on information collected via questionnaires during the second trimester, third trimester and three months after delivery, hormone levels may be responsible for lesser anxiety in the latter stages of pregnancy.
Researchers found that women in the third trimester of pregnancy reported less fear about going to the dentist than they did just three months after giving birth. There did not appear to be any correlation between dental fear, depression, and anxiety so researchers believe the hormone changes in late pregnancy could be responsible for diminished fear.
Source: Tolvanen M, Hagqvist O, Luoto A, Rantavuori K, Karlsson L, Karlsson H, Lahti S. Changes over time in adult dental fear and correlation to depression and anxiety: a cohort study of pregnant mothers and fathers. Eur J Oral Sci. 2013 Jun;121(3 Pt 2):264-9. doi: 10.1111/eos.12026. Epub 2013 Mar 2.