Midwife-led debriefing after operative birth: four to six year follow-up of a randomised trial [ISRCTN24648614] Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: There is little evidence that single-session debriefing is effective in reducing adverse mental health outcomes after trauma. Few trials have included long-term follow-up, but two also suggest possible negative effects of debriefing. We aimed to assess longer-term maternal health outcomes in a trial of midwife-led debriefing following an operative birth, given that findings at six months could not rule out a possible adverse effect of debriefing. METHODS: Four to six years after participating in a midwife-led trial of debriefing following an operative birth, 1039/1041 women were mailed a questionnaire containing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the SF-36 health status measure. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 534 women (51.4%). Responders from the two trial groups remained comparable 4-6 years postpartum. No significant differences on maternal health outcomes were found between the trial groups. CONCLUSION: In the longer term, maternal health status was neither positively nor adversely affected by the experience of debriefing, despite a hint of adverse effects at six months postpartum. Short debriefing interventions have not proven effective in improving mental health outcomes for women following childbirth.

publication date

  • December 2006