The longitudinal effects of midwife-led postnatal debriefing on the psychological health of mothers

Rosemary Selkirk, Suzanne McLaren, Alison Ollerenshaw, Angus J. McLachlan, Julie Moten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


To assess the effect of midwife-led postpartum debriefing on psychological variables, 149 women were recruited in the third trimester of their pregnancy and were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. Women in the treatment group received midwife-led postpartum debriefing within 3 days postpartum, whereas women in the control group did not receive formalised debriefing. Background information and psychological variables were assessed in the prepartum, and birthing information was gathered 2 days postpartum. The psychological variables, plus a measure of birth trauma, were re-assessed at 1 month, and again, together with a measure of parenting stress, at 3 months postpartum. Although the majority of women reported positively on their debriefing experience, statistical analyses indicated that only on the measure of dyadic satisfaction was there some suggestion that debriefing was effective. There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on measures of personal information, depression, anxiety, trauma, perception of the birth, or parenting stress at any assessment points, postpartum. On the other hand, the effect of medical intervention on women's perceptions of their birthing was evident, with women who experienced more medical intervention reporting more negative perceptions of their birthing than women who had experienced less medical intervention. Surprisingly, this difference was more marked among the women who had been debriefed than among the control group. Generally, the results did not support midwife-led debriefing as an effective intervention postpartum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2006


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