Author(s): Anderson C, Logan D
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The childbirth experience can be a wonderful event, or one of horror. One in 3 adult mothers appraises her childbirth experience as traumatic, with up to 10\% of women reporting a severe traumatic stress response post-delivery. The impact of the birth experience on adolescents is unknown. METHODS: Eighty-five Latinas ages 13 to 19 appraised their childbirth experience and reported symptoms of trauma impact as measured via the Impact of Event Scale (IES) within 72 hours of delivery. Descriptive statistics included demographic, obstetrical, and personal factors, and trauma scores. ANOVAs were used to examine differences in birth appraisal and trauma impact by demographic, obstetrical, and personal factors. Spearman rho and Pearson's r was used to compute correlations between birth appraisal, depression, and trauma impact. RESULTS: One-third of adolescents appraised their childbirth as traumatic; one-half displayed symptoms of trauma impact. Items influencing appraisal of the birth experience included marital status, fear of dying, fear of loss of control, and partner violence. Birth appraisal and symptoms of depression were found to influence trauma impact. CONCLUSIONS: One-third of teens appraised childbirth as traumatic with 50\% displaying symptoms suggestive of acute trauma at immediate postpartum. Nursing recommendations focus on providing a non-traumatic birth experience and follow-up by mental health professionals for assessment of potential chronic trauma, posttraumatic stress and depression. Teens can enter labor and delivery with stressors, depression, and past traumas; collaboration of care between maternal-child and mental health professionals is encouraged.
This article was published in Issues Ment Health Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Womens Health Care