Health Research and Policy

Research in Progress Seminar (RIP)

Date: November 14, 2012
Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: CHP/PCOR Conference Room
117 Encina Commons, Room 119, Stanford
Speaker: Jonathan G Shaw, MD
VA Fellow in Health Services Research & Development at CHCE, VA Palo Alto CHP/PCOR, Stanford School of Medicine
Title: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Military Sexual Trauma and Preterm Birth


Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality, yet remains poorly understood. Maternal stress and depression are increasingly recognized as risk factors for poor birth outcomes, but the effect of traumatic stress is less studied. As a growing number of reproductive-age females return from military service, the invisible wounds of war might impact pregnancy and thus the next generation. In the largest cohort of PTSD-affected pregnancies ever reported, we examine over 13,000 deliveries (17% of which were in women with PTSD) from VA administrative data to determine the extent to which posttraumatic stress is associated with preterm birth. Preterm delivery rates are found to be significantly higher in those with a diagnosis of PTSD, and this association remained in multivariate analysis that included adjustment for history of deployment and military sexual trauma. I will present our findings, which add strong support to prior small studies suggesting PTSD is a risk factor for preterm delivery, and further reveal subgroups (those with active PTSD or a history of sexual trauma) that appear particularly at risk.

Please note: All research in progress seminars are off-the-record. Any information about methodology and/or results are embargoed until publication.
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