The role of childhood trauma and PTSD in postpartum sleep disturbance

Leslie M Swanson, Lindsay Hamilton, Maria Muzik
Journal of Traumatic Stress 2014, 27 (6): 689-94
Despite robust associations between postpartum sleep difficulties and maternal psychopathology, little attention has been paid to the role of childhood trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the present study, we examined sleep complaints in postpartum women with a history of childhood trauma compared to postpartum women who were not exposed to childhood trauma. Participants (N = 173) completed questionnaires by telephone at 4-months postpartum. After adjusting for nuisance variables, there were significantly higher rates of sleep disturbance (falling asleep and staying asleep) for women with a past history of neglect (OR = 4.84, p = .036 and 5.78, p = .006, respectively), physical abuse (OR = 9.20, p = .002 and 3.84, p = .044, respectively), and physical abuse with sexual abuse (OR = 5.95, p = .011 and 3.56, p = .045, respectively). Current PTSD was significantly associated with trouble staying asleep (OR = 4.21, p = .032) whereas recovery from PTSD was associated with trouble falling (OR = 4.19, p = .015) and staying asleep (OR = 3.69, p = .011). Our findings affirm the contribution of childhood trauma and PTSD to postpartum sleep.

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