Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Postpartum Stress Symptoms and Child Temperament: A Follow-Up Study

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Postpartum Stress Symptoms and Child Temperament: A Follow-Up Study

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: The aim of this research is to investigate whether postpartum stress symptoms may persist through time and whether these symptoms may he connected to temperamental characteristics of the child. The underlying hypothesis is that child temperament may both affect stress symptom persistence and itself be a stress source for the mother. The results indicated that women with chronic stress symptoms had children classified as "slow to warm-up"; in contrast, women that have shown stress symptoms only after delivery and women that have never showed stress symptoms had children classified as "easy."

KEY WORDS: childbirth, PTSD, postpartum disorder, child temperament.

INTRODUCTION

This study is a follow-up research on a sample of women tested both after delivery and eighteen months after childbirth. This work investigates whether postpartum stress symptoms may persist through time and whether they may be connected to the temperamental characteristics of the child.

In fact, it has been emphasized that the temperament of the child may affect the mood of the mother (Edhborg, Seimyr, Lundh, & Windstroem, 2000; Murray 2001) and that temperamental difficulties are strictly connected to postpartum diseases (Rothbarth, & Ahadi, 1994; Derryberry & Rothbarth, 1997; Goldsmith, Buss, & Lemery, 1997; Rothbarth & Bates, 1998; Susman, Schmeelk, Ponirakis, & Gariepy, 2001).

Postpartum Disorders

Giving birth can be one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences in a woman's life. While life with a new baby can be thrilling and rewarding, it can also be hard and stressful at times: many physical and emotional changes can happen to a woman when she is pregnant and after she gives birth. These changes can leave new mothers feeling sad, anxious, afraid or confused, and could arouse different kinds of symptoms (more or less serious, short or long term).

Among possible postpartum disorders we find "mood disorders" or "baby blues," an extremely common reaction occurring in the first few days after delivery, usually appearing suddenly on the third or fourth day. Fifty to 75% of all new mothers experience this feeling of letdown after the emotionally charged experience of birth. Symptoms may include crying for no apparent reason, impatience, irritability, restlessness and anxiety. This is the most common, the least severe, and the best known of the postpartum reactions. Symptoms of the blues are brief and unpleasant and usually disappear on their own, sometimes as quickly as they came (Stein, 1982; Prezza, Di Mauro, Giudici, Violani, Vaccari, & Faustini,1984; O'Hara, Zekoski, Phillipps, & Wright, 1990; Martinez, Johnston-Robledo, Ulsh, & Chrisler, 2000; Seyfried, & Marcus, 2003).

Another frequent and well-known postpartum disease is postpartum depression. At least one in 10 new mothers experiences various degrees of postpartum depression. Postpartum complications can occur within days of the delivery or appear gradually, sometimes up to a year or so later. A woman suffering from postpartum depression will usually experience several symptoms ranging from mild to severe. She may experience alternating "good" days and "bad" days. Although postpartum depression does not take the same form for every woman, all of the symptoms can be equally distressing and often leave the woman feeling ashamed, guilty and isolated (Campbell S.B., Cohon J.F., 1991; Gotlib I.H., Whiffen V.E., Wallace P.M. Mount J.H., 1991; Rossi N., Bassi L., Delfino M.D., 1992; Appleby L., Gregoire A., Platz C., Prince M., Kumar R., 1994; Areias M.E.G., Kumar, R., Barros H., Figureido E., 1996; Chabrol, Saint-Jean, Teisseyre, Roge, & Mullet, 2002; Cooper, Murray, Wilson, & Romaniuk, 2003; Murray, Cooper, Wilson & Romaniuk, 2003; Seyfried, & Marcus, 2003).

Postpartum Psychosis (PPP) is the most severe and, fortunately, the rarest postpartum disorder. It occurs in about 1 out of 1000 women who give birth. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.