Postpartum posttraumatic and acute stress in mothers and fathers of infants with very low birth weight: Cross-sectional results from a controlled multicenter cohort study

Nadine Helle, Claus Barkmann, Stephan Ehrhardt, Carola Bindt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The birth of a preterm infant can be stressful and traumatic for parents and may cause posttraumatic stress symptoms and disorders. There is a dearth of data from controlled studies regarding level, prevalence, risk, and predictors of these symptoms in parents after preterm birth. Methods: As part of the longitudinal HaFEn-study, data from parents of infants with very low birth weight (VLBW), and term infants were cross-sectionally analyzed. We recruited parents at the three largest perinatal care centers in Hamburg, Germany. Posttraumatic stress symptoms were assessed with a standardized questionnaire, and acute and posttraumatic stress disorders with a clinical interview one month postpartum. Stress during birth, lifetime psychiatric diagnoses, social support, pregnancy risks, and mode of delivery were also evaluated. To examine predictors of posttraumatic stress symptoms in both parents simultaneously, we constructed multiple random coefficient models. Results: 230 mothers and 173 fathers were included. The risk for acute stress disorder was increased in mothers with VLBW infants but not in fathers. While the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder was not elevated, the level of posttraumatic stress symptoms was higher in both parents with VLBW infants. Predictors for posttraumatic stress symptoms were stress during birth, low social support, psychiatric lifetime diagnoses, the birth of a VLBW infant, and female parent sex. Limitations: Results reported here are cross-sectional. Thus, no temporal relationships can be established. Conclusions: Although posttraumatic stress disorders were rare, our results suggest that posttraumatic stress symptoms and acute stress disorders are common in parents of VLBW infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume235
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • Maternal/paternal
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Preterm birth
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Postpartum posttraumatic and acute stress in mothers and fathers of infants with very low birth weight: Cross-sectional results from a controlled multicenter cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this