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Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Approximately 1 percent to 6 percent of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after childbirth. Most often it is caused by real or perceived trauma during childbirth such as unplanned C-section, health issues with the baby, and feelings of powerlessness, poor communication and/or lack of support and reassurance during the delivery.

Women who have experienced a previous trauma, such as rape or sexual abuse, are at higher risk for experiencing postpartum PTSD.

Symptoms include:

  • Intrusive re-experiencing of a past traumatic event
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, including thoughts, feelings, people, places and details of the event
  • Lack of interest in friends and family
  • Persistent, increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response)
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment

Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable. Read more about treatment options.

Perinatal mood disorders are treatable. But first you have to ask for help.

call the helpline 24/7 at


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Last Modified: Thursday, 12-Jul-12 11:44:53