Incidence, correlates and predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder in the pregnancy after stillbirth

Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;178:556-60. doi: 10.1192/bjp.178.6.556.


Background: Many women may suffer psychological symptoms after stillbirth and in the subsequent pregnancy. Stillbirth has not been demonstrated previously to be a stressor for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Aims: To assess incidence, correlates and predictors of PTSD during and after the pregnancy following stillbirth.

Method: A cohort study of pregnant women whose previous pregnancy ended in stillbirth.

Results: PTSD symptoms were prevalent in the pregnancy following stillbirth. Case-level PTSD was associated with depression, state-anxiety and conception occurring closer to loss. Symptoms generally resolved naturally by 1 year post-partum (birth of healthy baby).

Conclusions: Women are vulnerable to PTSD in the pregnancy subsequent to stillbirth, particularly when conception occurs soon after the loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Bereavement*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Time Factors