Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 119–122 | Cite as

Is childbirth-induced PTSD associated with low maternal attachment?

  • Sharon DekelEmail author
  • Freya Thiel
  • Gabriella Dishy
  • Alyssa L. Ashenfarb
Short Communication


Few studies examined maternal attachment in childbirth-related postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder (PP-PTSD). We studied 685 postpartum women, assessing for PP-PTSD, non-childbirth PTSD, maternal attachment, pre-birth, birth, and post-birth factors. Attachment was lower in PP-PTSD than in non-childbirth PTSD and no PP-PTSD. Hierarchical regression showed that PP-PTSD predicted less maternal attachment above and beyond pre-birth psychiatric conditions, acute distress in birth, and lack of breastfeeding. Childbirth-induced posttraumatic stress may interfere with the formation of maternal attachment, warranting screening of at-risk women.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Childbirth Attachment Bonding Traumatic stress Postpartum Infant 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Partners (Massachusetts General Hospital) Human Research Committee granted this study exemption.

Informed consent

This study entailed an anonymous online survey; no personal identifiable information was collected. Participants were informed that by agreeing to complete the study survey, they are implying their consent to participate in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Dekel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Freya Thiel
    • 1
  • Gabriella Dishy
    • 1
  • Alyssa L. Ashenfarb
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalCharlestownUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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