Is There a Link Between Pregnancy and PTSD

Updated August 3, 2022

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Is There a Link Between Pregnancy and PTSD essay

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When reviewing findings within this topic, a major theme was the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and/or postpartum depression. In the article, “A Simple Model for Prediction Postpartum PTSD in High-risk Pregnancies” 89 women, ranging in age from 24 to 47; were participants in the study for the course of fourteen months. The findings demonstrate a high percentage in the development of postpartum PTSD (Shlomi Polachek, Dulitzky, Morgolis-Dorfman, & Simchen, 2016).

This validates the existence of PTSD in this population and the need for treatment once women have given birth, or prior to the occurrence. There are various contributors to PTSD in post-partem women such as past pregnancies, or if she is experiencing her first child; fear, and pain expectancy all established a role within their pregnancies and the women were recommended to seek further psychological treatment (Shlomi Polachek, Dulitzky, Morgolis-Dorfman, & Simchen, 2016).

Treatment for women undergoing high stress while pregnant is necessary to create preventative factors and develope coping mechanisms for their PTSD. Another study, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Due to Childbirth” describes the severity of PTSD in women after childbirth (Beck, 2004). The study consisted of 38 mothers varying throughout four different countries; New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and the United States (Beck, 2004). The women demonstrated having thoughts and anxiety when they reflected on their birthing experience; as well, a disinterest and annoyance with their partners and children (Beck, 2004). The work Beck conducted shows the significance of necessary treatment for mother’s contingent to this experience.

The topic of childbirth being proven to be a traumatic experience for many women is not frequently discussed; this leads women unable to consider treatment as an immediate option to adjust or prepare for the experience. The article, “Cognitive Predictors and Risk Factors of PTSD Following Stillbirth: A Short-Term Longitudinal Study” found that within a three to six month period, PTSD was proven to be at its peak in a women’s life following a stillbirth (Horsch, Jacobs, & McKenzie-McHarg, 2015). The study is based on a sample of women who had experienced a stillbirth at twenty-four weeks pregnant or further along and were not currently pregnant (Horsch, Jacobs, & McKenzie-McHarg, 2015). These findings in this study support the evidence of severe trauma a woman may experience within a high-risk pregnancy. In this population, the need to identify PTSD and postpartum depression is confirmed to be vital in providing crucial care to mothers.

In unison, each study provides evidence in a common diagnosis of PSTD or post-partem depression within pregnant women, or mothers. The research demonstrated throughout different studies, and populations, this is a common diagnosis that requires further treatment with helping professionals. Childbirth is proven to be a difficult, traumatizing experience and the effects women have been significant in their experiences in giving birth; as well as, future motherhood and relationships with those around them.

Psychological Predictors

The next theme discovered among the research is psychological predictors within the lives of pregnant women and mothers. Significant results from the article, “A Socioecological Predication Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Low‐Income, High‐Risk Prenatal Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Women” demonstrates the intricacy of PTSD and predictive variables that may be valuable in recognizing symptoms in related populations (Dodgson, Oneha, & Choi, 2014). A total of 146 women met the criteria required for the study; which included, classifying as NHPI, being above the age twenty, and have experienced the birth of a healthy child after the thirty-sixth week of pregnancy (Dodgson, Oneha, & Choi, 2014).

The emergence of predictors within this research topic prove the importance of mental health in women when preparing to have a child. Utilizing a woman’s information and medical history to conduct effective treatments then allows for minimal trauma and long-term diagnosis of PTSD or post-partem depression.

Experience with unhappiness on a personal level, a deficiency of support within family, and violence within a community developed consistent information for the prediction of PTSD (Dodgson, Oneha, & Choi, 2014). Research developing tools to determine psychological predictors benefits what attributes, or experiences to look for in women when working with those that may be at risk due to complications, and life stressors.

Risk Factors

The final theme found when reviewing the research were risk factors among this population of women. In the article, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Women Receiving Prenatal Care at Three Federally Qualified Health Care Centers” 745 patients were diagnosed with PTSD, alcohol/drug use or depression (Kim, Harrison, Godecker, & Muzyka, 2014). The findings of the study determined that throughout pregnancy those that classify as being in a disadvantaged population provide a larger risk for distress and inability to live a functional life (Kim, Harrison, Godecker, & Muzyka, 2014). This research validates potential factors that contribute to the onset of PTSD or post-partem depression within the lives of numerous women with drastic life differences.

The differences allow for a broad range of data to be collected and supported throughout its findings; across numerous ages, races, and marital statuses the results remain applicable to a large population of women that could benefit from treatment. Within the study of 38 mothers in New Zealand, there is also proven support of risk factors that may determine the beginning of PTSD (Beck, 2004).

This is a reoccurring pattern within the research, and risk factors such as; mothers undergoing severe pain during their labor without sufficient care provided to them, and mothers feeling helplessness at the sudden onset of giving birth to their child (Beck, 2004).

The lack of care provided to as risk mothers directly impacts their experience with pregnancy and motherhood. Significant trauma is being experienced throughout the world, by many women, and preventative measures could be developed to minimize the negative portion of the child birthing experience. Becks findings of risk factors correlate to the research study of 745 patients of several backgrounds and demographics (Kim, Harrison, Godecker, & Muzyka, 2014).

A multitude of distress is experienced by mothers in various aspects of pregnancy, birth, and afterward; the need to identify factors of such experiences may hinder the sudden trauma experienced by many; providing women with adequate care, and treatment would develop knowledge, support, and preparation needed in the lives of many. Developing information of risk factors within this population, and topic will better support research findings in the future.

Methodology and Sampling

In the research, the main form of data collection and recruitment were within clinical, or medical settings. Many researchers found the assistance of nurses to be helpful in the approach of a study to seek participation from mothers (Shlomi Polachek, Dulitzky, Morgolis-Dorfman, & Simchen, 2016). In one study, the nurse would engage with the mother and provide the questionnaire as needed (Shlomi Polachek, Dulitzky, Morgolis-Dorfman, & Simchen, 2016); contingent on that, the nurse would assist in the inventory of history and demographics. Throughout the study conducted by Cheryl Tatano Beck in four countries, the use of the charity Trauma and Birth Stress was used as a resource via internet to find the sample population (Beck, 2004).

This allowed Beck to reach a broad range of women around the world and develop a study with substantial evidence for PTSD. Multiple studies found interviews with mothers to be helpful in developing a connection and getting detailed information about past experiences (Horsch, Jacobs, & McKenzie-McHarg, 2015).

Emotions of fear and other reservations shared with researchers throughout interviews provided details that those who only did questionnaires could not directly obtain (Kim, Harrison, Godecker, & Muzyka, 2014). In the study of women who classified as NHPI were found through a medical health center. In that center, case managers provided detailed information of each woman which allowed for a PTSD screening (Dodgson, Oneha, & Choi, 2014).

The research used past experiences with pregnancies, current pregnant women, and the use of women who had given birth to a healthy baby or suffered through the experience of a high-risk pregnancy. It is important to reflect upon samples of the research to provide a basis for identifying risks or predictive factors that may pertain to a mother throughout her pregnancy or life after pregnancy.

Gaps in Literature

In the research literature, there were gaps of information that could have proven to be beneficial in collecting. Information about a mother’s past pregnancies and the status of her health prior to the current child may have allowed for another trend to appear within PTSD and post-partem depression.

If a mother has previously experienced either of these diagnosis’ this could be another predictive factor within research. Another gap in literature that was not covered is the number of children the mother was/is pregnant with at the time of the study. Establishing research for mothers pregnant with over one child may prove to support other themes or patterns within studies.

For example, research could demonstrate if there is a greater risk of trauma or negative experiences when giving childbirth.


The literature reviewed based on women impacted by high-risk pregnancies supported my initial research question for the population and topic. The research question was; is there an association between women high-risk pregnancies and post-traumatic stress disorder or postpartum depression? In reviewing the literature, this question demonstrated a large importance within the lives affected.

The mental health of mothers, and pregnant women was proven to be vitally important for not only the mother, but those who are in her environment as well. Through the research articles reviewed, the studies established adequate findings to answer the research question. The population, demographic, and detailed history provided in each study demonstrated the importance of illustrating risk factors and trauma experiences to develop social work practices in the future to better support clients with adequate treatment.

Is There a Link Between Pregnancy and PTSD essay

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Is There a Link Between Pregnancy and PTSD. (2022, Jul 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/is-there-a-link-between-pregnancy-and-ptsd/

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