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Open Access Case Consultation: Traumatized Pregnant Woman

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Case consultation is a new regular feature in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research in which a therapist requests assistance regarding a challenging case and responses are written by three experts. In this article, Amy Robbins, a certified eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapist from Atlanta, Georgia, briefly describes a challenging case in which a pregnant woman seeks treatment for trauma suffered in a tornado. The clinician asks if it is advisable to provide EMDR treatment and what concerns she should be aware of. The first expert, Carol Forgash, provides some general information about pregnancy and psychotherapy and outlines considerations, concerns, and contraindications for proceeding with EMDR. She recommends that if treatment is chosen, the therapist proceed with a recent trauma protocol to specifically target the traumatic memories of the recent tornado. The second expert, Andrew Leeds, comments on the absence of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or other scientific reports exploring the safety of EMDR treatment of pregnant women. He states that pregnant women with symptoms of posttraumatic stress should understand that there is a high probability that EMDR will improve maternal quality of life and that the risks of adverse effects on stability of pregnancy are probably low, but that these remain unknown. The third expert, Claire Stramrood, explains that the few case studies that evaluated EMDR during pregnancy have found positive effects but pertained to women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. She asserts that once obstetricians have been consulted, women have been informed about possible risks and benefits, and, given their informed consent, they should be able to choose to commence EMDR therapy during pregnancy.
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Keywords: ACUTE STRESS DISORDER; EMDR; POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS; PREGNANCY; TORNADO

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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