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Shaw JG, Asch SM, Katon JG, Shaw KA, Kimerling R, Frayne SM, Phibbs CS. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Antepartum Complications: a Novel Risk Factor for Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia. Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology. 2017 May 1; 31(3):185-194.
BACKGROUND: Prior work shows that Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) predicts an increased risk of preterm birth, but the causal pathway(s) are uncertain. We evaluate the associations between PTSD and antepartum complications to explore how PTSD''s pathophysiology impacts pregnancy. METHODS: This retrospective cohort analysis of all Veterans Health Administration (VA)-covered deliveries from 2000-12 used the data of VA clinical and administration. Mothers with current PTSD were identified using the ICD-9 diagnostic codes (i.e. code present during the antepartum year), as were those with historical PTSD. Medical and administrative data were used to identify the relevant obstetric diagnoses, demographics and health, and military deployment history. We used Poisson regression with robust error variance to derive the adjusted relative risk estimates (RR) for the association of PTSD with five clinically relevant antepartum complications [gestational diabetes (GDM), preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, growth restriction, and abruption]. Secondary outcomes included proxies for obstetric complexity (repeat hospitalisation, prolonged delivery hospitalisation, and caesarean delivery). RESULTS: Of the 15 986 singleton deliveries, 2977 (19%) were in mothers with PTSD diagnoses (1880 (12%) current PTSD). Mothers with the complication GDM were 4.9% and those with preeclampsia were 4.6% of all births. After adjustment, a current PTSD diagnosis (reference = no PTSD) was associated with an increased risk of GDM (RR 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2, 1.7) and preeclampsia (RR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1, 1.6). PTSD also predicted prolonged ( > 4 day) delivery hospitalisation (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.01, 1.4), and repeat hospitalisations (RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.2, 1.6), but not caesarean delivery. CONCLUSIONS: The observed association of PTSD with GDM and preeclampsia is consistent with our nascent understanding of PTSD as a disruptor of neuroendocrine and cardiovascular health.