Trauma, Stress, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in perinatal period

Nora L. Erickson, Diana Morelen, Maria Muzik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides an overview of trauma, stress, and post-traumatic stress symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum. Trauma-informed perinatal mental health care must consider the multifaceted strengths and vulnerabilities of each birthing person and seek to understand how what happened to an individual before, during, and after birth may impact her own health and the well-being of her family. In addition to a summary of the literature on perinatal PTSD, this chapter focuses on birth trauma, childhood maltreatment, and the COVID-19 pandemic as three critical traumatic stressors that may confer risk. Effects of these traumatic stressors on pregnancy and birth outcomes, perinatal mental health, and parenting outcomes are discussed. Given the potential intergenerational impact of untreated and unresolved trauma, this chapter ends with assessment and treatment recommendations for perinatal women and mothers of young children exposed to trauma or significant adversity, with an emphasis on the ways in which evidence-based dyadic interventions may help mitigate the intergenerational transmission of trauma and toxic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKey Topics in Perinatal Mental Health
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9783030918323
ISBN (Print)9783030918316
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022. All rights reserved.


  • Birth trauma
  • COVID-19
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • PTSD
  • Perinatal


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