Postpartum PTSD: Beyond Postpartum Depression in Maternal Mental Health

Most people consider maternal mental health to be synonymous with postpartum depression. However, there are many other similar disorders, collectively described as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). One such disorder is postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder. While PTSD as a whole used to be characterized as an anxiety disorder in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), it is now in a new chapter in DSM-V titled “Trauma- and Stress-Related Disorders.”

In general, PTSD affects approximately 10% of women during their lifetimes. There is a significant increase in the prevalence of PTSD surrounding childbirth, specifically in the postpartum period. One study that analyzed 212 primiparous mothers found the prevalence of PTSD symptoms to be 12.7% immediately after childbirth and 13.6% up to 6 months later. As Ami Baxi, MD, director of inpatient psychiatric services at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, New York, observed, “these numbers are equivalent to the prevalence data for postpartum depression and anxiety.” Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of literature on postpartum PTSD, resulting in limited physician knowledge. Dr. Baxi notes that “postpartum PTSD is underdiagnosed and undertreated.”

Read full article at http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/anxiety/postpartum-ptsd-affects-many-women/article/661356/