Just like with any trauma, the severity of impact depends on how the individual person experiences HG and any prior history of trauma. This is why preventative care, such as accurate education and support, can make the difference between a woman (or caregiver) resolving and integrating their traumatic experience or developing PTSD (or Complex PTSD) that affects them for months, decades, or even a lifetime. One HG pregnancy might be resolved, but a subsequent pregnancy may lead to PTSD depending on innumerable personal factors.
Treatment is critical in healing PTSD after HG. While there are several newer therapies being developed and the evidence is still being studied, EMDR, Brainspotting, CPT, and/or a therapy and support groups are recommended.
- EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is an example of a somatic treatment for trauma. This therapy uses bilateral brain stimulation to desensitize one to the traumatic memory. EMDR is a focus of trauma treatment based on new knowledge of neuroscience.
- Brainspotting is somatic mind-body therapy used to process deep challenges.
- TF-CBT is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is a version of talk therapy that is most commonly utilized and involves understanding how one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all connected while learning tools to eliminate or decrease negative symptoms. TF-CBT involves specific interventions that help clients process their trauma through a CBT filter.
- Support groups offer an opportunity to be validated by those in similar circumstances and share with others who understand. Any group support group for PTSD should be facilitated by an experienced clinician.
HER offers a monthly Online HG Support Group intended for general support of those who affected by HG.
Every person impacted by the stress and trauma of HG should be assessed for PTSD during and/or after pregnancy and offered appropriate treatment. Trauma treatment works, and when it incorporates good self-care, therapy, and sometimes medication, it is most successful.
Listen to our 2021 PTSD Awareness Day Live with April Horsley, Neuropsychologist/Psychologist, to learn about PTSD and her HG journey.