Research Output
Post traumatic stress disorder post childbirth versus postnatal depression: a guide for midwives
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-Post Childbirth (PTSD-PC) is a powerful pathophysiological reaction that occurs in response to experiencing a traumatic birth and affects between1-6% of women. Regardless of its trigger, PTSD-PC causes significant impairment to women’s social interactions, capacity to work, and daily life. A key symptom of PTSD-PC is re-experiencing the birth in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, continual replay, intrusive thoughts, and images. When these symptoms persist beyond ‘one month’ (DSM-V definition), a diagnosis of PTSD-PC should be considered. In full awareness that there are additional mental health problems that a childbearing woman could encounter, we have elected to focus on two of the more commonly experienced diagnoses; specifically PTSD and Post Natal Depression (PND). It is important for midwives to be able to differentiate between PTSD-PC and Post Natal Depression (PND), because diagnoses and treatments differ. Generally PND is treated with antidepressants and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), whilst PTSD is treated with Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Also, there is potential for a women to develop a dual diagnosis, with partner and family affected also. Clarity surrounding the differences between PND and PTSD are key to accessing appropriate diagnosis, referral, and treatment.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    02 August 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    618 Gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics & geriatrics

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Bromley, P., Hollins Martin, C. J., & Patterson, J. (2017). Post traumatic stress disorder post childbirth versus postnatal depression: a guide for midwives. British Journal of Midwifery, 25(8), 484-490.



Childbirth, Mental health, Midwives, Postnatal depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder

Monthly Views:

Available Documents