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Debriefing interventions for the prevention of psychological trauma in women following childbirth

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (70th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 policy source
34 tweeters
1 Facebook page


95 Dimensions

Readers on

618 Mendeley
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Debriefing interventions for the prevention of psychological trauma in women following childbirth
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd007194.pub2
Pubmed ID

Maria Helena Bastos, Marie Furuta, Rhonda Small, Kirstie McKenzie-McHarg, Debra Bick


Childbirth is a complex life event that can be associated with both positive and negative psychological responses. When giving birth is experienced as particularly traumatic this can have a negative impact on a woman's postnatal emotional well-being. There has been an increasing focus on women's psychological trauma symptoms following childbirth, including the relatively rare phenomenon of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the benefit of debriefing interventions to prevent this. In this review we examined the evidence for debriefing as a preventative intervention for psychological trauma following childbirth. To assess the effects of debriefing interventions compared with standard postnatal care for the prevention of psychological trauma in women following childbirth. The trials registers of the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group (CCDANCTR-References and CCDANCTR-Studies) and the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group were searched up to 4 March 2015. These registers include relevant randomised controlled trials from the following bibliographic databases: the Cochrane Library (all years to date), MEDLINE (1950 to date), EMBASE (1974 to date), and PsycINFO (1967 to date). Additional searches were conducted in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Maternity and Infant Care. The reference lists of all included studies were checked for additional published reports and citations of unpublished research. Experts in the field were contacted. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomised trials comparing postnatal debriefing interventions with standard postnatal care for the prevention of psychological trauma of women following childbirth. The intervention consisted of at least one debriefing intervention session, which had the purpose of allowing women to describe their experience and to normalise their emotional reaction to that experience. Three authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Meta-analysis was conducted where there were more than two trials examining the same outcomes. We included seven trials (eight articles) from three countries (UK, Australia and Sweden) that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The number of women contributing data to each outcome varied from 102 to 1745. Methodological quality was variable and most of the studies were of low quality. The quality of evidence for the prevalence of psychological trauma (primary outcome) and the prevalence of depression symptoms was rated low or very low, based on few studies (ranging from a single study to three studies) with high risk of bias in main domains such as performance bias, random sequence generation, allocation concealment and incomplete outcome data. The quality of evidence for the remaining outcomes (that is prevalence of anxiety, prevalence of fear of childbirth, prevalence of general psychological morbidity, health service utilization and attrition from treatment) was not assessed as data were not available.Among women who had a high level of obstetric intervention during labour and birth, we found no difference between standard postnatal care with debriefing and standard postnatal care without debriefing on psychological trauma symptoms within three months postpartum (RR 0.61; 95% CI 0.28 to 1.31; n = 425) or at three to six months postpartum (RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.27 to 1.42; n = 246). The results were based on two trials, respectively. Among women who experienced a distressing or traumatic birth, there was no evidence of an effect of psychological debriefing on the prevention of PTSD (measured by the MINI-PTSD) at four to six weeks postpartum (RR 1.15; 95% CI 0.66 to 2.01; n = 102) or at six months (RR 0.35; 95% CI 0.10 to 1.23; n = 103). The results were based on one small trial. One trial involving low-risk women who delivered healthy infants at or near term reported no significant difference between the intervention group and the control group in the proportion of women who met the diagnostic criteria for psychological trauma during the year following childbirth (RR 1.06; 95% CI 0.88 to 1.28; n = 1745). We did not find any information about attrition rates. We did not find any high quality evidence to inform practice, with substantial heterogeneity being found between the studies conducted to date. There is little or no evidence to support either a positive or adverse effect of psychological debriefing for the prevention of psychological trauma in women following childbirth. There is no evidence to support routine debriefing for women who perceive giving birth as psychologically traumatic.Future research should provide greater detail of the outcome measures used, and with scales for measuring psychological trauma validated against clinical diagnostic interviews. High rates of obstetric intervention in some birth settings may mean that women require improved emotional care from health professionals to reduce the risk of childbirth being experienced as traumatic. As all included trials excluded women unable to communicate in the native language of the study setting, there is no information on the response of these women to psychological debriefing. No included studies were conducted in low or middle-income countries.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 34 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 618 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Canada 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Unknown 616 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 93 15%
Student > Bachelor 85 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 71 11%
Researcher 62 10%
Unspecified 35 6%
Other 136 22%
Unknown 136 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 114 18%
Nursing and Health Professions 109 18%
Psychology 109 18%
Social Sciences 43 7%
Unspecified 35 6%
Other 56 9%
Unknown 152 25%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 25. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 10 November 2021.
All research outputs
of 22,799,071 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
of 264,200 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 252 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,799,071 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,312 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 75% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 264,200 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 252 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 70% of its contemporaries.