The aim of the thesis was to study the occunence of posttraumatic stress after childbirth, as seen in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Furthermore the studies explored potential risk factors, in pregnancy and during the delivery, for posttraumatic stress after childbirth and its longitudinal course, one to eleven months postpartum. Posttraumatic stress was also studied in comparison with the occunence of depression, in pregnancy and after childbirth.
Study 1 and 2 had a cross-sectional design and comprised 1640 consecutively delivered women in Linköping, Sweden. The variables were assessed once, using questimmaires measuring posttraumatic stress and fear of childbirth. Obstetric data were collected from the medical records.
Study 3, 4 and 5 were based on a cohort of 1224 women who were recruited in Linköping and Kalmar. Variables were assessed in early and late pregnancy. After the delivery the variables were assessed four times: 1, 4, 7, and 11 months postpartum. Measurements by means of questionnaires comprised demographic data, potential risk factors, posttraumatic stress, fear of childbirth, and depression.
Within 1-11 months after the delivery, 1-2% of the women developed posttraumatic stress. Emergency cesarean section and vaginal instrumental delivery were associated with an increased risk for posttraumatic stress postpartum.
Severe fear of childbirth, "pre"-traumatic stress (similar to posttraumatic stress but future oriented) and depression in pregnancy were associated with an increased tisk of suffedng from posttraumatic stress within 1-11 months postpartum. During that period, 24 of the 37 women with posttraumatic stress also had depression.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2002. , 41 p.