Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and risk of screening positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A cross-sectional study

Jacqueline Porcel*, Christine Feigal, Laney Poye, Ineke R. Postma, Gerda G. Zeeman, Abiola Olowoyeye, Eleni Tsigas, Melissa Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy (HDP) encompass a spectrum of disorders that affect 6-8% of US pregnancies. We aim to determine the impact of self-reported history of HDP as a risk factor for screening positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which results from exposure to a traumatic event, and to evaluate whether the risk of PTSD differed by severity of HDP.

    Study design: We conducted an online survey on the Preeclampsia Foundation website that is accessed worldwide by women who have experienced HDP, as well as their friends and family. 1448 women in total responded to the survey, including 1076 women who reported a history of HDP in at least one prior pregnancy and 372 women who reported no history of HDP during any prior pregnancy.

    Main outcome measures: We measured PTSD outcome with the Breslau Short Screening Scale for DSM-IV PTSD. We used logistic regression to model the relationship between PTSD and HDP.

    Results: Women who reported a history of HDP were more than four times as likely to screen positive for PTSD than women who reported having a normotensive pregnancy history (ORadj = 4.46, 95% CI: 3.20- 6.20). In addition, there was a marked trend toward increasing risk of screening positive for PTSD as the severity of HDP increased from gestational hypertension to eclampsia (p <0.001).

    Conclusions: Women with a history of HDP may be at increased risk of PTSD, with severe cases most likely to suffer from symptoms. Clinicians should consider implementing routine screenings during post-partum visits in this vulnerable population. (C) 2013 International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)254-260
    Number of pages7
    JournalPregnancy Hypertension
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct-2013


    • Posttraumatic stress disorder
    • Gestational hypertension
    • Preeclampsia
    • Eclampsia
    • HELLP
    • Syndrome
    • Severity

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