Post-traumatic symptoms after childbirth: What should we offer?
AbstractMost studies on post-traumatic stress symptoms after childbirth have focused on prevalence of and looked at etiological factors and predictors. While most authors agree that around 1.5% of the women develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and significantly more present with post-traumatic stress symptoms, the studies still lack a proper diagnosis using diagnostic interviews to validate the enhanced stress scores found in questionnaires. Also, some relevant predicting factors such as pre-existing psychopathology and dissociation during labor have not been investigated so far. Mostly, however, research on counseling strategies for women with post-traumatic symptoms after childbirth has been neglected. While most women remain in a mother–child unit during the first days after birth, there is a unique opportunity to systematically assess birth experience in this setting and screen for women at risk for developing trauma symptoms. This article presents a multilevel counseling approach including postnatal counseling and counseling in a subsequent pregnancy.