Is EMDR effective for women with posttraumatic stress symptoms after childbirth?


  • M. van Deursen-Gelderloos
  • E. Bakker


Background: Negative delivery experiences can result in psychological disorders like postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD in several target groups. Our research aims to study the effectiveness of EMDR treatment in women with posttraumatic stress symptoms as a result of childbirth. Methods: Women treated with EMDR for traumatic obstetric experiences (n= 26, mean age 30,9) completed questionnaires with measures of PTSD (Dutch Impact of Event scale), anxiety (STAI) , depression (SCL-90) and Quality of Life (RAND36) before the treatment (T1) and immediately after the treatment (T2). Findings: Preliminary results show significant differences between T1 and T2 for the Dutch Impact of Event scale, STAI and the subscale depression of the SCL-90 (p<0.001). Both mental health and social function scores on RAND36 were improved after the treatment (p<0.05). Discussion: The findings indicate that EMDR significantly decreases symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression and increases mental health and social functioning in women with traumatic birth experiences.





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