Persistent symptoms of maternal post-traumatic stress following childbirth across the first months postpartum: Associations with perturbations in maternal behavior and infant avoidance of social gaze toward mother

Sofie Rousseau, Tamar Feldman, Inbal Shlomi Polachek, Tahl I. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent literature identifies childbirth as a potentially traumatic event, following which mothers may develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Following-Childbirth (PTS-FC). The current study examines whether stable symptoms of PTS-FC during the early postpartum period may impose risk for perturbations in maternal behavior and infant social-engagement with mother, controlling for comorbid postpartum internalizing symptoms. Mother-infant dyads (N = 192) were recruited from the general population, during the third trimester of pregnancy. 49.5% of the mothers were primipara, and 48.4% of the infants were girls. Maternal PTS-FC was assessed at 3-day, 1-month and 4-month postpartum, via self-report and clinician-administered interview. Latent Profile Analysis generated two profiles of symptomology: “Stable-High-PTS-FC” (17.0%), and “Stable-Low-PTS-FC” (83%). Membership in the “Stable-High-PTS-FC” profile associated with perturbed maternal sensitivity, which was in turn significantly associated with infant avoidance of social gaze toward mother (Indirect effect β = −0.15). Results suggest the need for early screening and inform the planning of early preventive interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalInfancy
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2023

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