Seeing Their Children in Pain: Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Mothers of Children with an Anomaly Requiring Surgery at Birth

Lucia Aite, Francesca Bevilacqua, Antonio Zaccara, Edoardo la Sala, Simonetta Gentile, Pietro Bagolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective Assess the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in mothers of newborns requiring early surgery. Study Design Mothers of newborns operated on for a congenital anomaly underwent a semi-structured interview on their experience 6 months postpartum. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for symptoms of the three major criteria of PTSD: re-experiencing, avoidance, and heightened arousal. Results A total of 120 mothers took part in the study; their children were affected by one of the following congenital anomaly: esophageal atresia (n = 29); congenital diaphragmatic hernia (n = 38); midgut malformations (n = 38); and abdominal wall defects (n = 15). Two mothers did not show any symptoms; 12 mothers (10%) had one posttraumatic symptom, 77 (64.2%) had two, and 29 (24.2%) had three. Overall, 106 mothers (88.4%) presented at least two symptoms. Conclusion PTSD can be considered a useful model to describe and comprehend mothers' reactions in this specific population. Preventive interventions and dedicated follow-up program should be offered to these families.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 29 2015

Keywords

  • neonatal intensive care
  • newborn surgery
  • noncardiac congenital anomaly
  • posttraumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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