The Use of Prolonged Exposure Therapy Augmented With CBT to Treat Postpartum Trauma

Samantha A. Reina, Blanche Freund, Gail Ironson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Approximately 1% to 2% of women suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth, with obstetric emergencies being a key risk factor for birth-related PTSD. The current study augmented prolonged exposure (PE) with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, and agoraphobia in a 28-year-old married Hispanic female following a life-threatening case of postpartum preeclampsia. To target distressing symptoms and reach treatment goals, the patient engaged in two preparatory sessions, 12 active PE sessions, and five supplementary CBT sessions. Posttreatment assessment indicated a significant reduction of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Panic attacks reduced in frequency and severity, and by the end of treatment, the patient no longer met criteria for PTSD, major depressive disorder (MDD), or agoraphobia. In the case of postpartum PTSD, CBT can augment PE treatment to reduce symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Case Studies
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • medical PTSD
  • postpartum
  • preeclampsia
  • prolonged exposure
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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