Objective: to explore the possibility of using eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) to treat women who have experienced post-traumatic stress after childbirth.
Design: the pilot study consisted of a 'before and after' treatment design combined with follow-up measurements 1-3 years after EMDR treatment. Quantitative data from questionnaires (Traumatic Event Scale [TES]) were collected. In addition, qualitative data from individual interviews with the participants were collected as well as data from the psychotherapist's treatment notes of the EMDR treatment sessions.
Setting: the north of Sweden.
Participants: four women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after childbirth (one pregnant and three non-pregnant).
Findings: all participants reported reduction of post-traumatic stress after treatment. After 1-3 years, the beneficial effects of EMDR treatment remained for three of the four women. Symptoms of intrusive thoughts and avoidance seemed most sensitive for treatment.
Implications for practice: EMDR might be a useful tool in the treatment of non-pregnant women severely traumatised by childbirth; however, further research is required.