Traumatic birth may put moms at risk for PTSD

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sad womanChildbirth is no walk in the park, that's for sure. But for a majority of women, the experience is a positive one. We made need a little time to let the memory of painful contractions fade or for stitches to heal, but the rewards definitely outweigh the pain and stress.

But when complications arise, things might go a little differently. When a mother or child's life is threatened or heavy interventions are needed, the trauma of childbirth can linger long past Mom and baby going home. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a new study that found that post-traumatic stress disorder may be far more common in new mothers than previously thought, and some are wondering if screening new moms should be a regular part of post-partum recovery.


Though PTSD is not common in new moms (the new survey put it at about 9%), it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you're having strange feelings after giving birth. Part of the problem, of course, is that new motherhood is strange sometimes. You're sleep-deprived, caring for a baby 24 hours a day wondering if they'll ever stop eating or pooping so that you can get a shower, and your life, in general, is turned upside down. Moms may feel reluctant to address their feelings, especially since we're supposed to be awash in maternal happiness and light. (Think Angelina Jolie on the recent cover of People.)

The WSJ has a great chart that compares the symptoms of post-partum depression to PTSD. If you're baby blues don't diminish in the early weeks of new motherhood or if they feel like something more, get your post-pregnancy self to your doctor on the double.

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