Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in New Mothers: Results from a Two-Stage U.S. National Survey
ABSTRACT Prevalence rates of women in community samples who screened positive for meeting the DSM-IV criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder after childbirth range from 1.7 to 9 percent. A positive screen indicates a high likelihood of this postpartum anxiety disorder. The objective of this analysis was to examine the results that focus on the posttraumatic stress disorder data obtained from a two-stage United States national survey conducted by Childbirth Connection: Listening to Mothers II (LTM II) and Listening to Mothers II Postpartum Survey (LTM II/PP).
In the LTM II study, 1,373 women completed the survey online, and 200 mothers were interviewed by telephone. The same mothers were recontacted and asked to complete a second questionnaire 6 months later and of those, 859 women completed the online survey and 44 a telephone interview. Data obtained from three instruments are reported in this article: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale-Self Report (PSS-SR), Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), and the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2).
Nine percent of the sample screened positive for meeting the diagnostic criteria of posttraumatic stress disorder after childbirth as determined by responses on the PSS-SR. A total of 18 percent of women scored above the cutoff score on the PSS-SR, which indicated that they were experiencing elevated levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms. The following variables were significantly related to elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms levels: low partner support, elevated postpartum depressive symptoms, more physical problems since birth, and less health-promoting behaviors. In addition, eight variables significantly differentiated women who had elevated posttraumatic stress symptom levels from those who did not: no private health insurance, unplanned pregnancy, pressure to have an induction and epidural analgesia, planned cesarean birth, not breastfeeding as long as wanted, not exclusively breastfeeding at 1 month, and consulting with a clinician about mental well-being since birth. A stepwise multiple regression revealed that two predictor variables significantly explained 55 percent of the variance in posttraumatic stress symptom scores: depressive symptom scores on the PHQ-2 and total number of physical symptoms women were experiencing at the time they completed the LTM II/PP survey.
In this two-stage national survey the high percentage of mothers who screened positive for meeting all the DSM-IV criteria for a posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis is a sobering statistic.
- SourceAvailable from: Paul Scuffham
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- "Our results also confirm previous findings linking the negative effects of traumatic childbirth on new mothers' quality of life for over 12 months (Beck 2006). An accumulation of physical postpartum health problems was found to be a significant predictor of elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms in distressed US women (Beck et al. 2011). These physical problems are often a hidden and unrecognised aspect of maternal health. "
ABSTRACT: We investigated the impact of pre-existing mental ill health on postpartum maternal outcomes. Women reporting childbirth trauma received counselling (Promoting Resilience in Mothers' Emotions; n = 137) or parenting support (n = 125) at birth and 6 weeks. The EuroQol Five dimensional (EQ-5D)-measured health-related quality of life at 6 weeks, 6 and 12 months. At 12 months, EQ-5D was better for women without mental health problems receiving PRIME (mean difference (MD) 0.06; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.10) or parenting support (MD 0.08; 95 % CI 0.01 to 0.14). Pre-existing mental health conditions influence quality of life in women with childbirth trauma.Archives of Women s Mental Health 10/2013; 16(6). DOI:10.1007/s00737-013-0384-5 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: No standard intervention with proved effectiveness is available for women with posttraumatic stress following childbirth because of insufficient research. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the possibility of using eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment for women with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder following childbirth. The treatment is internationally recognized as one of the interventions of choice for the condition, but little is known about its effects in women who experienced the delivery as traumatic. Three women suffering from posttraumatic stress symptoms following the birth of their first child were treated with eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing during their next pregnancy. Patient A developed posttraumatic stress symptoms following the lengthy labor of her first child that ended in an emergency cesarean section after unsuccessful vacuum extraction. Patient B suffered a second degree vaginal rupture, resulting in pain and inability to engage in sexual intercourse for years. Patient C developed severe preeclampsia postpartum requiring intravenous treatment. Patients received eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment during their second pregnancy, using the standard protocol. The treatment resulted in fewer posttraumatic stress symptoms and more confidence about their pregnancy and upcoming delivery compared with before the treatment. Despite delivery complications in Patient A (secondary cesarean section due to insufficient engaging of the fetal head); Patient B (second degree vaginal rupture, this time without subsequent dyspareunia); and Patient C (postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum hypertension requiring intravenous treatment), all three women looked back positively at the second delivery experience. Treatment with eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms in these three women. They were all sufficiently confident to attempt vaginal birth rather than demanding an elective cesarean section. We advocate a large-scale, randomized controlled trial involving women with postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder to evaluate the effect of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing in this patient group.Birth 03/2012; 39(1):70-6. DOI:10.1111/j.1523-536X.2011.00517.x · 2.05 Impact Factor
Article: Easing maternal anxiety: an update.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Maternal mental health is an important public health issue because of its effects not only on the mother's well-being and functional status, but also her relationship with her partner and the development of her children. There is accumulating evidence of the adverse sequelae of maternal anxiety on fetal development, obstetrical complications, pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight, and subsequent child development. Evaluation of maternal anxiety and intervention to reduce these symptoms, may ensure optimal developmental outcomes, particularly in high-risk infants such as those born at very low birth weights. This article will outline recent advances in our understanding of the etiology, assessment and impact of maternal anxiety, and describe intervention strategies to promote maternal well-being.Women s Health 03/2012; 8(2):205-13. DOI:10.2217/whe.11.96