Trait anxiety and unplanned delivery mode enhance the risk for childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in women with and without risk of preterm birth: a multi sample path analysis

  • Childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder (CB-PTSD) occurs in 3–7% of all pregnancies and about 35% of women after preterm birth (PTB) meet the criteria for acute stress reaction. Known risk factors are trait anxiety and pain intensity, whereas planned delivery mode, medical support, and positive childbirth experience are protective factors. It has not yet been investigated whether the effects of anxiety and delivery mode are mediated by other factors, and whether a PTB-risk alters these relationships. 284 women were investigated antepartum and six weeks postpartum (risk-group with preterm birth (RG-PB) N = 95, risk-group with term birth (RG-TB) N = 99, and control group (CG) N = 90). CB-PTSD symptoms and anxiety were measured using standardized psychological questionnaires. Pain intensity, medical support, and childbirth experience were assessed by single items. Delivery modes were subdivided into planned vs. unplanned delivery modes. Group differences were examined using MANOVA. To examine direct and indirect effects on CB-PTSD symptoms, a multi-sample path analysis was performed. Rates of PTS were highest in the RG-PB = 11.58% (RG-TB = 7.01%, CG = 1.1%). MANOVA revealed higher values of CB-PTSD symptoms and pain intensity in RG-PB compared to RG-TB and CG. Women with planned delivery mode reported a more positive birth experience. Path modeling revealed a good model fit. Explained variance was highest in RG-PB (R2 = 44.7%). Direct enhancing effects of trait anxiety and indirect reducing effects of planned delivery mode on CB-PTSD symptoms were observed in all groups. In both risk groups, CB-PTSD symptoms were indirectly reduced via support by medical staff and positive childbirth experience, while trait anxiety indirectly enhanced CB-PTSD symptoms via pain intensity in the CG. Especially in the RG-PB, a positive birth experience serves as protective factor against CB-PTSD symptoms. Therefore, our data highlights the importance of involving patients in the decision process even under stressful birth conditions and the need for psychological support antepartum, mainly in patients with PTB-risk and anxious traits.

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Author:Sarah Sommerlad, Karin Schermelleh-Engel, Valentina Lucia La Rosa, Frank LouwenGND, Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld
Parent Title (English):PLOS ONE
Place of publication:San Francisco, California, US
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/08/31
Date of first Publication:2021/08/31
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/03/07
Tag:Anxiety; Labor and delivery; Medical risk factors; Obstetrics and gynecology; Pain; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Pregnancy; Preterm birth
Issue:8, art. e0256681
Page Number:16
First Page:1
Last Page:16
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0