Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Women With PTSD Have Lower Birthweight Babies

Babies born to women who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) weigh less than babies born to other women and are more likely to arrive prematurely, says a new University of Michigan study. The study looked at 839 women divided into three groups: 255 with PTSD during pregnancy, 307 exposed to trauma but not diagnosed with PTSD, and 277 not exposed to trauma.

Babies born to women with PTSD weighed 10 ounces less than those of the trauma-exposed women and about 8 ounces less than infants of the non-exposed women. Race was also a factor in the results. African-American women are more likely to have PTSD during pregnancy because they have greater lifetime exposure to trauma and tend to get less treatment. “It is essential that outcomes are improved in this high risk group of women,” said researcher Julia Seng of the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender. “Maternity care needs to take traumatic stress into account…”

To read much more about PTSD in women, see Psychiatric News at


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