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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in pregnancy and postpartum is relatively new but clearly demonstrates the importance of recognizing and treating women with PTSD at this time. Women with PTSD in pregnancy are at greater risk of pregnancy complications and health behaviors that have a negative impact on the woman and fetus. Approximately –3% of women develop PTSD after giving birth, and rates increase for women who have preterm or stillborn infants or life-threatening complications during pregnancy or labor. Models of the etiology of postpartum PTSD focus on the interaction among individual vulnerability, risk, and protective factors during and after birth. Research shows evidence for the role of previous psychiatric problems, depression in pregnancy, severe complications during birth, support, and women’s subjective experience of birth in postpartum PTSD. Very little research has examined screening or intervention. The chapter highlights key research topics that need addressing.

Keywords: PTSD, birth, labor, pregnancy, pregnancy complications, preterm birth, stillbirth

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