Prevalence and Risk Factors for Post traumatic Stress among Australian Midwives

In 2014 more than 700 Australian midwives participated in an online survey which assessed trauma symptoms and risk factors for posttraumatic stress following exposure to birth trauma.

Probable PTSD was assessed using the PSS-SR.  Personal, birth trauma event-related and professional variables who had a significant association with probable PTSD were entered into a logistic regression model.

Prevalence of probable PTSD following witnessing of a traumatic birth event was about 17% (n=102).

Logistic regression identified the following risk factors for posttraumatic stress among Australian midwives:

1) Feelings of horror shortly after witnessing the traumatic birth event

2) Feelings of guilt shortly after witnessing the traumatic birth event

3) A personal experience of trauma when giving birth to a baby

Participants are invited to discuss the implications of these findings for the profession. The concept of trauma sensitive care and practice will be presented and possibilities for its implementation in maternity care will be discussed.