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Dr. André Galvão
de Castro

Clinical Psychology

 

Dr. André Galvão de Castro

Post-traumatic stress
Pregnancy and after birth

HPA Magazine 16

 

During this "World Maternal Mental Health Day", which is celebrated annually on the 3rd of May, it is fundamental to emphasize to the entire community, the importance of being aware of a women’s’ emotional alterations during this extremely delicate moment in their lives, not only during pregnancy, but also during the postpartum period.


Stress pós-traumático Na gravidez e pós-parto


 

Although it is known that this is a moment of greater vulnerability for a woman due to all the physiological, physical and psychological changes that occur during this period and, because some pathologies such as anxiety and depression are associated with it, it is now  know that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTS) plays a very important role, and should not be undervalued, as it may be present and increase, limiting considerably the autonomy and well-being of the woman. 
PTS is characterized as a disturbance occurring occurs after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening situation, that puts the person's physical or mental integrity at risk and therefore, following a traumatic or stressful event a diagnosis is mandatory.
Throughout life, PTS is more prevalent in women and manifests itself through longer periods of stress.
Symptoms, in general, involve: a) reliving the trauma, where the woman is confronted with persistent intrusive thoughts or memories; b) lack of interest in sentimental or emotional situations, avoiding places or people that remind her of a traumatic moment and c) hypervigilance, where the woman is constantly in a state of alarm, always alert and defensive, as a way of preventing a possible attack or threat.

This disorder can occur at any age, starting after the first year of life. Symptoms often start within the first 3 months after a trauma, and sometimes there may be a delay of months before all diagnostic criteria are met.
TPS is often undervalued and may even go unnoticed, as the woman somehow avoids confronting the elements that trigger the situation, as it is unpleasant and life limiting.
Thus, it becomes evident that when planning a pregnancy, the woman should, with the help of a professional solve her internal ghosts, so that they do not exacerbate and become evident in a negative way during one of the most beautiful moments in her life.