Fathers’ traumatic distress following childbirth

Doug Charlton, Debbie Carrick-Sen, John Unsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mothers may suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following childbirth however, childbirth may also be traumatic for the fathers; It is possible that fathers are at increased risk as a non-participant observer, which in many cases involves observing actions beyond the father’s control affecting the bodily integrity of the mother, this may lead to the perception of the event as traumatic. Evidence exists that some fathers experience PTSD up to four months after birth following the delivery of premature or sick infants and in a recent study, 13% fathers exhibited clinically important psychological distress days after delivery of a healthy infant. Method: Between April and June 2010, 100 fathers were recruited from a large tertiary maternity unit in North of England. The study aim was to assess traumatic distress experienced by fathers following a complex delivery. Data was collected using self-completion questionnaires at three time points within 4 days, 4 weeks and 4 months of birth, using a number of validated tools to screen for trauma, birth experience and mental health history
Results: Initial 4 day results showed 100 fathers consented. 29% of fathers reported the birth as traumatic. 38% reported they felt the mother’s life was at risk and 32% also felt the babies’ life was at risk. 41% of fathers reported one or more trauma symptom at four days. 49% of fathers had a previous traumatic history and 43% had witnessed a previous traumatic birth. Conclusion: Further analysis of 4 week and 4 month data will potentially identify those fathers experiencing PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E5-E6
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Event33rd Annual Conference of the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology - Kingston Upon Hull, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Sept 201318 Sept 2013


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