The longitudinal course of post-traumatic stress after childbirth
Post-traumatic stress was assessed in early and late pregnancy, and 1, 4, 7, and 11 months postpartum by means of questionnaires among 1224 women. Thirty-seven women (3%) had post-traumatic stress (meeting criteria B, C, and D for PTSD) at least once within 1-11 months postpartum. In pregnancy, depression, severe fear of childbirth, 'pre'-traumatic stress, previous counseling related to pregnancy/childbirth, and self-reported previous psychological problems were associated with an increased risk of having post-traumatic stress within 1-11 months postpartum. Sum-scores of post-traumatic stress did not decrease over time among women who at least once had post-traumatic stress (criteria B, C, and D) within 1-11 months postpartum. Women with post-traumatic stress also showed a decrease in perceived social support over time postpartum.
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