Adolescent Psychological Birth Trauma Following Cesarean Birth
Cheryl Anderson and Christine Perez
This study explored associations between depressive symptoms, violence exposure, and psychological birth trauma (PBT) among 44 adolescents experiencing cesarean births. Within 72 hours postpartum, symptoms of PBT were measured via a subjective rating of the birth experience and the Impact of Event Scale (IES). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale measured depressive symptoms. Single questions assessed violence exposure, including child abuse, partner violence, and traumatic life experiences as attribute variables. Adolescents were typically single with an unplanned first pregnancy. A similar number of adolescents reported a negative or positive birth experience. Correlations between IES scores, parity, depressive symptoms, partner violence, gestational age, and a negative birth appraisal suggested interconnected prenatal vulnerabilities for birth trauma and adverse infant outcomes. Partner violence and depressive symptoms need continuous assessment throughout pregnancy. The potential for continued symptoms and presence of violence beyond discharge requires follow up and education in pediatric settings at well-baby and routine visits.