Survivor Moms’ Companion (SMC) is a psychoeducation program for pregnant women experiencing varying degrees of traumatic stress. In the U.S., United Kingdom, and Brazil, pregnant women meet the diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at twice the rate of women in the general population. Also, PTSD risk is increased 12-fold in women who have experienced childhood maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. The mother’s impairment due to PTSD and past traumatic events could result in transmission of abuse and psychiatric vulnerability to her child. SMC is a ten-step program designed to achieve desired health outcomes by addressing PTSD symptoms and traumatic stresses.
Traumatic stress in pregnant women treated by psychoeducation program
The ten-step Survivor Moms’ Companion program seeks to achieve affect and interpersonal regulation and management of PTSD symptoms. SMC promotes these personal skills by teaching about perinatal care and reaction, soothing, and interpreting skills. In Phase I and II clinical trials, pregnant women who completed all ten steps achieved large improvements in both interpersonal reactivity and PTSD symptom management. Even study participants who only completed the first four core steps experienced moderate anger management. The advantage of SMC is that it specifically helps pregnant women manage PTSD symptoms and improve mother-baby bonding. Eventually, SMC could be adapted to enable pregnant women or other patient populations to manage other psychological disorders. While many programs exist to treat and educate about psychological disorders, SMC is the first program created to specifically help pregnant women manage PTSD and improve infant care.
- Designed to fit the Integrated Primary Mental Health Care model
- Could be implemented in maternity health care or social service settings
- Could be used remotely (e.g. telehealth)
- No current front-line intervention for pregnant women with maltreatment history and posttraumatic stress
- Could be modified to treat other psychological disorders experienced by pregnant women