The EMDR Recent Birth Trauma Protocol: a pilot randomised clinical trial after traumatic childbirth

Valentina Chiorino, Maria Caterina Cattaneo, Elena A. Macchi, Roberta Salerno, Sara Roveraro, Giorgia G. Bertolucci, Fabio Mosca, Monica Fumagalli, Ivan Cortinovis, Sara Carletto, Isabel Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: This pilot study investigated the effectiveness of brief EMDR intervention as compared to treatment-as-usual (TAU) in women with post-partum PTSD symptoms. Design: A pilot randomised controlled trial was conducted to evaluate possible differences between one EMDR session (n = 19) and one TAU session (n = 18) delivered in a maternity ward in the aftermath of childbirth. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was the rate of remission of post-partum post-traumatic stress symptoms (i.e. IES-R score <23) in both groups at 6-weeks (T1) and 12-weeks’ post-partum (T2). Secondary outcome measures were mother-to-infant bonding, post-partum depressive symptoms, the presence of flashbacks and level of distress. Results: Most of the women improved their post-partum post-traumatic stress symptoms after only one treatment session. EMDR resulted more effective than TAU in reducing the proportion of women with post-partum post-traumatic stress symptoms at 6-weeks’ post-partum (78.9% EMDR vs. 39.9% TAU; p =.020). Moreover, women treated with EMDR experienced less flashbacks and distress as compared to TAU. No significant difference was found between treatments on mother-to-infant bonding and post-partum depressive symptoms. Conclusions: These findings, although preliminary, suggest that a brief EMDR intervention could be a viable and promising tool in the early treatment of post-traumatic stress related to traumatic childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Health
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • childbirth trauma
  • EMDR
  • post-partum PTSD
  • trauma-focused intervention
  • traumatic childbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Chiorino, V., Cattaneo, M. C., Macchi, E. A., Salerno, R., Roveraro, S., Bertolucci, G. G., Mosca, F., Fumagalli, M., Cortinovis, I., Carletto, S., & Fernandez, I. (Accepted/In press). The EMDR Recent Birth Trauma Protocol: a pilot randomised clinical trial after traumatic childbirth. Psychology and Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1699088