Cognitive behaviour therapy for postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder: case studies

Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Sussex, UK.
Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology (Impact Factor: 1.23). 10/2007; 28(3):177-84. DOI: 10.1080/01674820601142957
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Background. Approximately 1-2% of women suffer from postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with wide ranging consequences for these women and their families 1. Appropriate treatment of women who have difficult or traumatic births is not yet established. Evidence in other populations shows that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective for PTSD and it is therefore the recommended treatment 2. However, a recent review of treatments for postnatal distress concluded that descriptions of postnatal counseling are largely generalized and non-specific, which makes them difficult to assess or replicate 3. Aims and method. The current paper therefore aims to describe the use of CBT interventions to treat postnatal distress, and to illustrate common themes or issues that occur in postnatal PTSD. This paper reports two case studies of women with postnatal PTSD and their treatment using CBT. Conclusions. In these cases, CBT was an effective treatment for postnatal PTSD. A number of implications are explored for the management of pregnancy and labor.

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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, many authors have studied the manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a function of women's birth experiences. The objective of the current work is to provide an in-depth review of the work carried out in this domain over the last few years. A review of the literature using Medline and PsycInfo provided 36 references using PTSD and birth as keywords and examining the manifestation of PTSD following birth; all of these studies are examined and presented in the current review. The literature shows a prevalence of PTSD ranging from 1.3 to 6 %. The risk factors typically associated with PTSD following birth include the woman's perception of her birth experience (pain, control, and perceived social support), psychological characteristics of the woman (previous traumas or need for psychotherapy), and medical variables (number and type of medical interventions during pregnancy and birth). Few studies examine how women were treated following manifestation of PTSD related to birth. Results of studies using debriefing techniques show mixed results. Postnatal traumatic manifestations have many features, which point to the appropriateness of cognitive behavioral therapy. The current review of PTSD brings this poorly recognized disorder to the forefront, rendering an essential focus for public health, which should be undertaken in France.
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