Symptoms of post-traumatic stress after preeclampsia

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2011 Sep;32(3):126-34. doi: 10.3109/0167482X.2011.599460.


This study describes the prevalence of postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on the DSM-IV criteria, including its symptoms of intrusion, avoidance and hyperarousal after pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, and examines which variables are associated with PTSD and its symptoms. Women whose pregnancies were complicated by preeclampsia completed the Self-Rating Inventory for PTSD at 6 and 12 weeks postpartum: 149 women completed this questionnaire on at least one time point. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine associations with PTSD and its symptoms. Results showed that the prevalence of PTSD was 8.6% at 6 weeks, and 5.1% at 12 weeks postpartum; 21.9% of the study sample experienced postpartum symptoms of intrusion at 6 weeks postpartum (11.7% at 12 weeks), 9.4% symptoms of avoidance (8.0% at 12 weeks), and 28.9% symptoms of hyperarousal (20.4% at 12 weeks). Younger age, severe preeclampsia, cesarean section, lower gestational age, lower birth weight, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, and perinatal death were found to be associated with PTSD and its symptoms. There was a relatively high prevalence of postpartum symptoms of PTSD among women after preeclampsia. The prevalence was highest among younger women who experienced more adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • HELLP Syndrome / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prevalence
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires