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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 18;7(1):8724. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09314-x.

Risk factors for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder development one year after vaginal delivery: a prospective, observational study.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bordeaux University Hospital, Bordeaux, France.
Inserm UMR 1153, Obstetrical, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research Team (EPOPé), Center for Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cité (CRESS), DHU Risks in pregnancy, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bordeaux University Hospital, Bordeaux, France.
Port-Royal Maternity Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cochin University Hospital, APHP, Paris, France.


Our study aimed to assess the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after childbirth one year after vaginal delivery and to identify characteristics of women and deliveries associated with it. Questionnaires were mailed a year after delivery to 1103 women with prospectively collected delivery and postpartum data, including a question on day 2 assessing their experience of childbirth. PTSD was assessed a year later by the Impact of Event and Traumatic Event Scales; 22 women (4.2%, 95%CI 2.7-6.3%) met the PTSD diagnostic criteria and 30 (5.7%; 95%CI 3.9-8.0%) PTSD profile criteria. Factors associated with higher risk of PTSD profile were previous abortion (aOR 3.6, 95%CI 1.4-9.3), previous postpartum hemorrhage (Aor 5.3, 95%CI 1.3-21.4), and postpartum hemoglobin <9 g/dl (aOR 2.7, 95%CI 1.0-7.5). Among 56 women (10.3%) reporting bad childbirth memories at day 2 postpartum, 11 (21.1%) met PTSD diagnosis and 11 (21.1%) PTSD profile criteria a year later, compared with 11 (2.4%) (P < 0.001) and 18 (3.8%) (P < 0.001), respectively, of the 489 (87.7%) women with good memories. PTSD is not rare at one year after vaginal delivery in a low-risk population. A simple question at day 2 post partum may identify women most at risk of PTSD and help determine if early intervention is needed.

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