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Being pregnant and having a baby is a time of huge physical, psychological and social changes for women. It is therefore a period of rapid transition and adaptation. Although the birth of a baby is viewed positively in most cultures, research suggests between 20 and 40% of women find childbirth traumatic and 4% of women may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. Birth trauma and PTSD have a substantial impact on women and their families. Postpartum PTSD is highly comorbid with depression and fear of subsequent births, as well as reduced breastfeeding, poorer child development and strain on the couples relationship.

The Intersect Study

The INTERSECT study works in collaboration with researchers across the world, with an emphasis on working with under-represented countries in South-America, Asia and Africa. The protocol has been publicly registered and is available here

Principle investigators in over 40 countries are conducting the INTERSECT survey with over 18,000 women 6 to 12 weeks after birth. The INTERSECT project will provide cross-cultural information on the prevalence of postpartum PTSD, as well as cross-cultural variation in the etiology and manifestation of childbirth-related PTSD worldwide.

This research aims to study childbirth PTSD in an international context. Specifically to:

  1. Determine the prevalence of birth trauma and PTSD across countries and cultures.

  2. Determine differences in symptom presentation across countries and cultures.

  3. Determine the etiology of childbirth-related PTSD symptoms across countries and cultures.

"This project…has the potential to be transformative both in improving the quality of maternity care worldwide and in reducing the incidence of a very serious, but under-researched and under-treated, mental health condition” Birth Trauma Association.

BMA Foundation Pushpa Chopra Grant 2023

The INTERSECT study is honored to have been awarded the Pushpa Chopra Grant by the BMA Foundation which will enable us to add valuable doctoral research to the study which will investigate the impact of maternity care systems on birth trauma. 


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