Preventing Risk for Posttraumatic Stress Following Childbirth: Visual Biofeedback During Childbirth Increases Maternal Connectedness to Her Newborn Thereby Preventing Risk for Posttraumatic Stress Following Childbirth

Yael Schlesinger, Daniel Hamiel, Sofie Rousseau, Sharon Perlman, Yinon Gilboa, Reuven Achiron, Tahl I. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Mounting evidence indicates the detrimental impact of posttraumatic stress following childbirth (PTS-FC). Nevertheless, research on preventive strategies is scarce. We recently reported that ultrasound visual biofeedback during second stage of labor was associated with immediate beneficial medical outcomes (increased pushing efficacy, decreased perineal tearing), as well as greater feelings of maternal connectedness toward her newborn immediately postlabor. The current study assessed the potential longer-term psychological benefits of these outcomes in buffering risk for PTS-FC. The study follows up the previously reported sample to examine the longitudinal clinical effect of the visual biofeedback intervention on symptoms of acute stress at 2 days postpartum and subsequent symptoms of PTS-FC at 1 month postpartum. Method: A sample of 26 nulliparous women received visual biofeedback and was compared to a group of women receiving standard obstetrical coaching. Maternal feelings of connectedness and acute stress symptoms were assessed 2 days postpartum and PTS-FC was assessed 1 month postpartum. Results: Double-mediation analyses revealed a significant indirect relation between visual biofeedback and decreased PTS-FC symptoms 1 month postpartum. The relation was significantly mediated by increased feelings of maternal connectedness immediately postpartum, which in turn was associated with decreased symptoms of acute stress 2 days postpartum. Conclusions: These results suggest that the visual biofeedback intervention during childbirth may decrease risk for PTS-FC. Importantly, findings suggest the preventive potential of fostering feelings of maternal connectedness toward her newborn to reduce symptoms of PTS-FC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Acute stress
  • Biofeedback
  • Mother-infant relations
  • Posttraumatic stress following childbirth
  • Prevention

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