Posttraumatic stress disorder following preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Sep-Dec;25(3-4):183-7. doi: 10.1080/01674820400017863.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in connection with pregnancy was first described in the 1990s--initially in relation to childbirth but later more specifically to the mode of delivery. Instrumental vaginal delivery carries the highest risk of PTSD followed by emergency caesarean section and normal spontaneous delivery. Loss of pregnancy, spontaneous abortion or intrauterine death for example can also lead to PTSD. Little systematic research has been performed regarding the psychological consequences of severe preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, although it would seem obvious that these conditions may have a great effect The combination of suffering a serious illness combined with an unexpected caesarean section or delivery, often of a premature child, is a heavy burden to bear both physically and psychologically. We describe here three patients who developed PTSD after pregnancies complicated by severe preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome. PTSD can develop after preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • HELLP Syndrome / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*