A systematic review of midwife led interventions to address post traumatic stress syndrome

Nicole Borg-Cunen, Jennifer McNeill, Karen Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


to systematically identify interventions that midwives could introduce to address post-traumatic stress in women following childbirth.

a search strategy was developed and relevant papers were identified from databases including Cinahl, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Maternity and Infant Care, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Key search terms used were post-traumatic stress, post partum, intervention, controlled trial and review. Papers eligible for inclusion were primary studies and reviews of research published from 2002–2012, focusing on interventions which could be implemented by midwives for the prevention and/or management of PTSD. For primary studies, RCTs, controlled clinical trials, and cohort studies with a control group were eligible. Eligible reviews were those with a specified search strategy and inclusion/exclusion criteria. Methodological quality was assessed using recognised frameworks.

six primary studies and eight reviews were eligible for inclusion. The majority of included studies or reviews focused on debriefing and/or counselling interventions; however the results were not consistent due to significant variation in methodological quality and use of dissimilar interventions. Two of the reviews considered the general management of post partum PTSD and one broadly covered anxiety during pregnancy and the post partum, incorporating a section on PTSD. The majority of women reported that the opportunity to discuss their childbirth experience was subjectively beneficial.

Conclusions and implications for practice
no evidence-based midwifery interventions were identified from this systematic review that can be recommended for introduction into practice to address PTSD. It is recommended that future research in this area should incorporate standardised interventions with similar outcome measures to facilitate synthesis of results. Further research on interventions used in non-maternity populations is needed in order to confirm their usefulness in addressing post partum PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-184
JournalMidwifery: an international journal
Issue number2
Early online date18 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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