How giving birth could leave one in three new mothers with same symptoms as victims of terrorist attacks
Symptoms include flashbacks and a rapid heart beat when reliving the event
12:42 GMT, 9 August 2012
Labour: Symptoms include flashbacks and denial of the traumatic experience
Women are not exaggerating when they say they go through hell when giving birth – one in three new mothers will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a new study claims.
The condition is normally associated with soldiers returning from a war to those involved in horrific accidents or disasters.
The authors of the university report admit it is controversial to compare the experience of childbirth with the awful reality of a terrorist atrocity or fighting a war.
But they claim around one third of all women show some symptoms of PTSD after giving birth with a small minority developing the full blown version of the condition.
This is unusual, too, because PTSD
usually happens to those who are not expecting to find themselves in a
traumatic situation, such as those caught up in a bomb blast for
are long prepared for what might happen, they have usually made the
choice to become pregnant and they know there will be discomfort and
Yet they still suffer trauma, even after a successful birth, said Tel Aviv medical experts tracking the progress of 90 new mothers aged between 20 and 40 from just after delivery to a month later.
One in three (33.7 per cent) suffered PTSD symptoms of whom around eight per cent displayed very minor symptoms but 3.4 developed full blown PTSD.
Of those who suffered any symptoms, 80 per cent had opted for natural childbirth without pain relief.
Symptoms include flashbacks, the heart beating faster when discussing the experience or simply not wanting to talk about the experience at all.
For women, it can also lead to some not wanting another child as a result of their post-traumatic stress.
But it is not just the pain that brings on stress and trauma, said the doctors for the Israel Medical Association Journal.
The doctors found women got stressed about their undressed state during labour, the fear of something going wrong and, in some cases, bad experiences from previous pregnancies.
The study reported: 'The debate over whether or not childbirth qualifies as a ‘traumatic event’ is still controversial.
'Although childbirth is not a sudden and unexpected event like an accident, it is accompanied by a very real and justified fear of danger.
'Expectant mothers worry for not just their own safety but also for the health and well-being of their babies.'
The medical researchers hope the results will lead to doctors and other professionals preparing women better for the experience.
This includes covering their bodies property during delivery and counselling them more efficiently about pain relief.