Unusual stress for pregnant servicewomen


Pregnancy appears to increase the mental health anguish for women who have recently served in the military. Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq show an increase of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder during their pregnancies which could endanger the health of the unborn baby and the outcome of the delivery for both mother and child. The study is published in the peer review Journal of Women’s Health.

The theory is that the stress of military service resurfaces during pregnancy. The hormonal and physiological changes that go with pregnancy bring on or worsen the array of mental health challenges that these veterans may experience. Knowing more about this phenomenon will help create a strategy for anticipating problems during a pregnancy and delivery for these servicewomen.

Kristin Mattocks, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine, and her colleagues looked at medical records for 43,000 women who served in Iraq or Afghanistan completing their service between 2001 and 2008. They examined the records of those who later became pregnant and sought medical help during their pregnancy.

“With an increased number of women serving in the military, it is important that we understand their unique health issues such as mental health problems during pregnancy,” says Editor-in-chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health.

Source: Journal of Women’s Health, ScienceDaily


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