Perinatal trauma refers to psychological trauma related to pregnancy, birth, or the postpartum period. Childbearing women might have a number of experiences that lead to acute stress disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): prior childbearing loss, which could include miscarriage, fetal or neonatal death, or abortion; life-threatening complications during pregnancy; a difficult or life-threatening birth experience; or infant complications, such as preterm delivery or infant illness or disability.

Birth-Related PTSD

Labor and delivery are often the context for trauma symptoms that can cause PTSD. In one study, as reported in a 2001 study in the journal Birth (Ayers & Pickering, 2001), 289 women were assessed at 36 weeks gestation, and 6 weeks and 6 months post-partum. Women with preexisting PTSD or depression were excluded. At 6 weeks, ...

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