The latest issue of Midwifery, containing an editorial by Professor Susan Ayers and articles from several of our collaborators, focuses on fear of childbirth and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The importance of addressing maternal mental health needs has been increasingly recognised in recent years. The commentaries published on this web-site have cited the evidence relating to the impact of maternal psychological distress upon gestational age, infant outcomes and cognitive, behavioural and emotional development of young children, and upon the wellbeing and relationships of the woman and child. The World Health Organisation has underlined the importance of ensuring adequate perinatal care for women experiencing psychological difficulties, but also recognises the lack of empirically evaluated care pathways.
There is a need to increase our knowledge of the mechanisms involved in perinatal mental health, not least to inform our understanding of the wider issue and to facilitate intervention aimed at prevention and treatment. This special issue of Midwifery makes a contribution to this process through its focus upon fear of childbirth and postnatal PTSD. It includes articles specifically on perinatal PTSD together with original research relating to fear of childbirth, women’s perceptions of morbidity, parental stress, the role of support, the impact on women midwives’ views on antenatal care, and treatment. Contributions have been included from around the globe.
This special issue is published online on the Midwifery website and is fully accessible until the end of March 2014.