An Evidence Review and Model for Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Abstract

Postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder (P-PTSD) is a variant of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that, although relatively prevalent, is under-researched. Up to one-third of women in the United States describe childbirth as traumatic, with 9 percent of women meeting the criteria for PTSD outlined by the American Psychiatric Association. These statistics are sobering in light of common use of analgesia during birth as well as hospital birth environments promoting family-centered maternity care. How can a seemingly natural event, such as childbirth, be associated with PTSD? This review includes a description of key variables associated with P-PTSD. Socioeconomic, environmental and genetic determinants are discussed, as are evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches.

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