A new study that suggests a traumatic pregnancy can trigger PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, in a mother.
PTSD is when a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
While postpartum depression is more commonly diagnosed for first-time mothers, there’s research that suggests pregnancy-related PTSD is on the rise. According to the Dallas News, about 10 percent of women with a prior pregnancy complication have PTSD, while about 30 percent meet partial criteria when it comes to their symptoms and experiences. The good news is that many women will recover from their PTSD within the first year, but about a third still develop chronic symptoms later on.
View this post on Instagram
repost from @futurebadm.m : "I wish I knew then not to compare my journey with others in any kind of way... That I wasnt a better or worse mom because my baby ended up in NICU her first 24 hours of life, that I didnt do anything wrong, that I wasnt less of a woman because I didnt want to dress up or wear make up, and that I am not a bad mom because I went back to work... We are all doing the best we can and we are NO ONE to judge someone else’s journey. . Lets mind our own business and be kind to those struggling to figure it out, no mom needs you to tell them what they “should do" with their life. Every baby is different, every mom is different, and that is the beauty of it: we are all unique! . ... [and] guess what? It does get better, you do figure it out after all, and if you don't... guess what?: . “IT IS OK NOT TO!” . My baby’s smile was worth every struggle, I take it as her way of telling me “you are doing so good Mommy!” . #NobodyToldMe #4thtrimester #realmotherhood #momlife #BetterPostpartum #ToGETherBetter #ShattertheSilence #Mywishformoms #ppd #firsttimemom #mamaprimeriza #IwishIknew #motherhoodunplugged #motherhood #makingovermotherhood
Researchers also point out that PTSD is often associated with preterm births. Dr. Shivani Patel is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas suggests that pregnant women should be honest with their medical experiences. This way it will help doctors figure out of their patients may be experiencing PTSD. After all, a woman’s emotional well-being is just as important as her physical well-being.
Dr. Patel opened up about her own experience, and how her own PTSD impacted her pregnancy. Ever since she developed preeclampsia during her first pregnancy, the thought of having her blood pressure taken triggers both flashbacks and gives her anxiety.
She says, “At 29 weeks, I was told that my baby was not growing normally, and I was once again diagnosed with preeclampsia. By 34 weeks, the symptoms had become severe and I had another C-section. But because I had shared my anxieties from the first C-section with my medical team, they implemented small changes that made the experience better for me.”
View this post on Instagram
The question I asked myself all the time with newborns, “How am I going to do this?”. . I really had no clue. (I still don’t 😅) . What I did know was that I couldn’t do this alone. I was 100% confident about that. . Asking for and receiving help is a sign of strength - I wish we could start recognizing this more. 🙋🏼♀️ . Preparing for postpartum is important. It’s necessary for your physical, emotional and mental health. Even with the best laid plans, research and preparation, unexpected challenges will pop up to help you grow. They’re not pleasant, but they’re a part of this beautifully messy, human experience. It’s ok to ask for help. . If you’re ever in a place of “How am I going to do this?” begin by reaching out for help. A text to a friend/family member or a call to professionals can get you started. . I’m honored to team up with @nwpadoulas and Miranda Melquist, LCSW to fundraise for Postpartum Support International @postpartumhelp ‘s Climb Out Of The Darkness event. We’re planning a [free!] 5k/stroll on June 22, but more importantly, we’re raising funds that will be able to help local families during this life changing transition of postpartum. . More Erie families will be able to receive postpartum doula services including childcare, meal services, and mental health support with the funds raised. We’ve got a BIG goal and we’re just over halfway there. [link in bio to donate! 💗] . I hired the @nwpadoulas for postpartum support as we doubled our kid-load and welcomed the twins. One of the best plans I had in place was knowing that I had help lined up. We still struggled, doubted ourselves and felt overwhelmed, as most new parents do, but slowly, we figured things out, together. Another favorite resource is @earthmamaorganics free Lying-In Plan on EarthMamaOrganics [dot] com to help you get started. . Did you prepare for postpartum? Who or what helped you navigate this new territory? Need a little encouragement? Post below or DM me and I’ll offer what I can 💗 . https://postpartum.z2systems.com/teamErie
And while her daughters are healthy and thriving today, Dr. Patel does admit that having her blood pressure taken still triggers unfortunate flashbacks. She says that she always gives herself about 20 minutes before her doctor’s appointments in order to calm herself down. This is why Dr. Patel urges her patients and pregnant women to communicate their thoughts and feelings with a trusted medical professional in order for them to get the best care possible.
Over 3 million people each year – including many pregnant women – suffer from PTSD. While it’s usually treatable by a medical professional, it does require a medical diagnosis and it can take years before a person feels like their old self again.