PTSD, major depressive episode appears to increase risk of preterm birth

June 11, 2014

Diagnoses of both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a major depressive episode appear to be associated with a sizable increase in risk for preterm birth that seems to be independent of antidepressant and benzodiazepine medication use.

Preterm birth is responsible for many . Clinicians and patients are concerned about the risks associated with psychiatric illness during pregnancy and the medications used for treatment.

The study included a group of 2,654 recruited before 17 weeks gestation. The authors looked for PTSD, , and the use of antidepressant and benzodiazepine medications. They measured preterm births, defined as birth before 37 weeks gestation.

Of the women, 129 (4.9 percent) had symptoms consistent with PTSD. Pregnant women with both PTSD and a major depressive episode had a four-fold increased risk of preterm birth. Each one-point increase on a scale measuring PTSD symptoms increased the risk for preterm birth by 1 percent to 2 percent. Women prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitor and benzodiazepine medications had higher odds for .

"The risk appears independent of antidepressant or benzodiazepine use and is not simply a function of mood or anxiety symptoms. Further exploration of the biological and genetic factors will help risk-stratify patients and illuminate the pathways leading to this risk."

Explore further: Study finds residence in US a risk factor for preterm birth

More information: JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 11, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.558

Related Stories

Study finds residence in US a risk factor for preterm birth

February 9, 2012

In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that duration of stay in the United States ...

Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth

March 27, 2014

Antidepressant medications taken by pregnant women are associated with increased rates of preterm birth. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear ...

Poor diet before pregnancy is linked with preterm birth

May 23, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide research has for the first time confirmed that women who eat a poor diet before they become pregnant are around 50% more likely to have a preterm birth than those on a healthy diet.

Recommended for you

Babies need free tongue movement to decipher speech sounds

October 12, 2015

Inhibiting infants' tongue movements impedes their ability to distinguish between speech sounds, researchers with the University of British Columbia have found. The study is the first to discover a direct link between infants' ...

Women and men react differently to infidelity

October 8, 2015

If your partner has sex with someone else, it is considered infidelity - even if no emotions are involved. But it is also considered infidelity when your significant other develops a close personal relationship with someone ...

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.