Epidural analgesia associations with depression, PTSD, and bonding at 2 months postpartum

Jonathan E. Handelzalts*, Sigal Levy, Haim Krissi, Yoav Peled

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research aim was to study the possible effect of epidural analgesia, as well as other possible demographic/obstetric variables and subjective birth experience on postpartum depression, PTSD, and impaired bonding. This was a longitudinal study of 254 women who gave birth at the maternity wards of a large tertiary health center and responded to questionnaires at T1 (Childbirth Experience Questionnaire and level of fatigue question; in person, 1–4 days postpartum) and at T2 (Postnatal Depression Scale, Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire, and the City Birth Trauma Scale; online-two months postpartum). Obstetric and demographic data were taken from medical files. Having a previous psychiatric diagnosis and higher levels of fatigue significantly predicted worse outcomes in all measures (level of fatigue was not associated with the City Birth Trauma birth-related symptoms factor). Having higher education, being primiparous, worse birth experience, and longer second stage of birth predicted worse outcomes in some measures. Although epidural administration had no effect on any of the outcome variables, special attention should be devoted to women who had long second-stage births and/or suffering from postpartum fatigue to prevent postpartum psychopathology. In addition, demographic variables, such as primiparity, education, and prior psychopathology diagnosis should be considered to treat women and prevent postpartum psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-494
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Epidural
  • PTSD
  • bonding
  • depression
  • postpartum


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