Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2019 Aug 22;7(1):53.
doi: 10.1186/s40359-019-0330-z.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Panic Disorder: A Case Series

Free PMC article

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Panic Disorder: A Case Series

Kazuki Matsumoto et al. BMC Psychol. .
Free PMC article


Background: Clinical anxiety is common during the perinatal period, and anxiety symptoms often persist after childbirth. Ten to 30 % of perinatal women are diagnosed with panic disorder (PD)-far more than the 1.5-3% rate among the general population. Although cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been determined to be an effective treatment for PD, few studies have been conducted on CBT effectiveness in treating postpartum PD and, to the best of the knowledge of the present authors, no research has been conducted on postpartum PD among Japanese women. In this manuscript, we report on our administration of CBT to three postpartum patients with PD, detailing the improvement in their symptoms.

Case presentation: All patients in this study were married, in their thirties, and diagnosed using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview as having PD with agoraphobia. The Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) was used to evaluate patients' panic symptoms and their severity. All patients received a total of 16 weekly 50-min sessions of CBT, and all completed the treatment. All patients were exceedingly preoccupied with the perception that a "mother must protect her child," which reinforced the fear that "the continuation of their perinatal symptoms would prevent them from rearing their children". After treatment, all participants' panic symptoms were found to have decreased according to the PDSS, and two no longer met clinical criteria: Chihiro's score changed from 13 to 3, Beth's PDSS score at baseline from 22 to 6, and Tammy's score changed from 7 to 1.

Conclusions: CBT provides a therapeutic effect and is a feasible method for treating postpartum PD. It is important that therapists prescribe tasks that patients can perform collaboratively with their children.

Keywords: Agoraphobia; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Postpartum panic disorder.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Patient 1’s case-formulation

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Fareeha H, Aftab A, Ijaz MI. Study of anxiety and depression during pregnancy. Pak J Med Sci. 2008;24(6):861–864.
    1. Ali E. Women’s experiences with postpartum anxiety disorders: a narrative literature review. Int J Women's Health. 2018;10:237–249. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Ghaffar R, Iqbal Q, Khalid A, Saleem F, Hasslar MA, Baloch NS, FUD A, Bashir S, Haider S, Bashaar M. Frequency and predictors of anxiety and depression among pregnant women attending tertiary healthcare institutes of Quetta City, Pakistan. BMC Womens Health. 2017;17:51. - PMC - PubMed
    1. American Psychiatric Association . Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.
    1. Wenzel A, Gorman L, O’Hara M, Stuart S. The occurrence of panic and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in women with postpartum dysphoria: prospective study. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2001;4(1):5–12.