post traumatic stress 1st baby is in the NICU stressed

post traumatic stress

Post traumatic stress following a premature birth

post traumatic stress premature birth

post traumatic stress is a medical condition associated with the mental health of an individual. Such conditions are very hard to process and are linked with complicated symptoms that are very difficult to treat. There are several factors that can trigger post-traumatic stress. However, whatever the symptoms may be, it usually takes 3-6 months to develop into a psychological disorder.

Several studies published in recent years showed that there is a direct relationship between post-traumatic stress and premature birth. In the UK, around 4-6% of women are subjected to post traumatic stress following premature birth. Such women usually experience a feeling of abandonment, anxiety, fear, guilt, and helplessness. A complicated or premature birth may also increase the risk of postpartum depression and psychosis which further worsen the situation.

There are several risk factors that are associated with the development of post traumatic stress. A few of those are discussed below:

the trauma of what a premature delivery does to a woman

Traumatic factors: Traumatic factors are among the leading causes of post-traumatic stress in women following birth. Women are usually more vulnerable to such medical conditions when they have a history of sexual trauma and traumatic experiences during their childhood.

Birth-related factors: Mode of birth is also one of the triggering factors that elicit post-traumatic stress in women. Studies showed that women who have emergency caesarean are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress compared to women who give vaginal birth. We can say that women undergoing emergency C-section are at a higher risk of developing post traumatic stress following premature birth.

Biopsychosocial factors: These factors include social support that one way or the other is associated with the progression of post traumatic stress symptoms. It is scientifically revealed that poor social support is the key factor that triggers the post-traumatic stress symptoms in women following premature birth.

Apart from these factors, there are several other factors like previous abortion, fear of childbirth, psychiatric problems, subjective distress, etc. that contribute to post-traumatic stress in mothers following premature birth.

Typical symptoms

Symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress are grouped into four main categories called intrusive memories, mood changes, avoidance, and physical changes. Whatever the type of symptoms may be, their intensity and duration vary from person to person. Symptoms usually start to appear in an individual within a month following a traumatic event. However, in some cases, symptoms may take up to a year to fully develop into a medical condition.

  1. Intrusive memories: This includes the recurrent or flashback of traumatic events you experienced in the past. Moreover, you can experience upsetting dreams or nightmares that affect your mental health. Emotional and physical reactions that remind you of the traumatic event are also included in intrusive memories.
  2. Mood changes: Sometimes you also experience some negative changes in your mood or thoughts that make you feel hopeless and insecure. You feel detached from your close friends and family members and find it difficult to maintain relationships. Emotionally, you feel numb and you lack interest in your daily life activities.
  3. Avoidance: A person suffering from post-traumatic stress usually tries to avoid talking or thinking about a traumatic event.
  4. Physical changes: Like mood changes, there are some particular symptoms based on which you can depict whether a person is suffering from post-traumatic stress or not. Such persons usually develop self-destructive behaviour that makes them look frightened, angry, and hyperreactive all the time.


Treatment of ptsd, or post-traumatic stress is relatively a difficult task compared to other psychological disorders. It involves several treatment methodologies like patient counselling, medication, psychological intervention, and lifestyle changes. Each of these methodologies has its own significance in mitigating the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress following premature birth. more premature baby articles on our home page at cheekychumsonline

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