About this Research Topic
Not surprisingly, childbirth entails rapid changes to the body often accompanied with sleep deprivation and intense labor pain. It has been noted that as many as a third of women appraise their childbirth experience to be traumatic with up to a quarter endorsing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms at a clinical level. Prevalence of full-blown childbirth-related PTSD is less clear, ranging from 3-12%. Factors such as maternal mental health, mode of delivery, and birth appraisal have been identified to account for the development of childbirth-related posttraumatic stress, although biological predictors are not known, nor are their association with psychological factors. Cultural expectations may further play a role in postpartum PTSD. Postpartum posttraumatic stress in the mother may hinder breastfeeding and child socio-emotional development, which may further worsen mother’s wellbeing, resulting in a vicious cycle. Possibly a transmission of traumatic reactions from the mother to offspring may occur during the early sensitive time period of child development. The implications on the infant have not been clearly understood.
Given that childbirth is a relatively predictable event (unlike other potentially traumatic events) there is a window of opportunity to identify at risk women and provide appropriate trauma-focused preventive treatment to optimize the heath trajectories of mothers and their babies. Targeted diagnosis and interventions are yet to be implemented as part of routine clinical care. Thus it is important to conduct research and gather empirical knowledge on postpartum posttraumatic stress to then inform and improve clinical care to meet the special needs of mothers.
This Research Topic is intended to provide a platform for the emerging studies on traumatic childbirth and childbirth-related posttraumatic stress syndrome and associated postpartum mental health conditions. We welcome the following submission formats: original quantitative or qualitative research, review, perspective, and case studies.
Keywords: childbirth, posttraumatic stress, parturition, postpartum, mental health
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