Pietro Grussu, Alessia Dal Bello, Rosa Maria Quatraro

Perinatal health psychology in women with a childhood history of sexual abuse, maltreatment and neglect: A systematic qualitative review

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Pregnancy; Delivery, Postpartum; Perinatal; Sexual Abuse; Neglect; Maltreatment.

Early negative experiences such as sexual abuse, physical and/or psychological abuse, neglect and exposure to a dysfunctional family background have consequences of various short- and long-term scope on an individual's developmental path. These past experiences take on a particular relevance in a woman at the sensitive time of transition to parenthood. We conducted a systematic qualitative review to summarize the evidence concerning the perinatal health psychology in women who, in their childhood, were victims of abuse, mistreatment or neglect. Published peer-reviewed articles were identified through searches of the eletronic databases PsychInfo, PubMed and Google Scholar from 1987 to June 2017 using keywords childhood adverse experiences, childhood maltreatment, neglect, childhood maternal abuse, sexual abuse, perinatal mental health, pregnancy and postpartum. A total of 27 publications were idenfied. Of the 27 manuscript, 25 were experimental studies and 2 were qualitative/narrative studies. Result indicated that a past maternal history of childhood sexual abuse, maltreatment and/or neglect significantly influences many aspects of a current pregnancy and postpartum, such as the bond with the child, the willingness to engage in risky health behaviors during pregnancy, the maternal psycho-social condition, pregnancy outcomes, and attitudes towards prenatal care. Nevertheless, the numerous methodological constraints detected in the studies under consideration in this qualitative review should prompt the research community to place greater attention on projects in this scientific and clinical field so that the data collected can be considered representative of the population being studied, and thus of greater usefulness in practical terms.

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