What is birth trauma?
When a birth is not a healthy or positive experience or a mother does not feel supported or safe, it can have devastating results. These births may be disappointing, negative, or even traumatic. Birth trauma if formally diagnosed can be labelled as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following childbirth. It is estimated that 3% of all vaginal deliveries result in PTSD and 6% of all c births result in PTSD, but that up to a third of unplanned c-birth may result in birth trauma.
- Unexpected childbirth or childbirth did not go as planned
- Experiencing labour complications
- Injury to either you or your baby
- Stillbirth or neonatal death
- Not receiving the care or support you needed
- Previous birth trauma
- If you suffer from anxiety
Preventing birth trauma:
- Be open-minded as you can’t predict your childbirth experience
- Prepare for childbirth by researching and taking antenatal classes
- Establish a support network of friends or family
- Seek mental health support
Diagnosis of Birth Trauma is based on the woman’s feelings about her birth, whether the health care providers agree or not. Birth Trauma can occur with or without physical injury to the mother or baby; in all types of birth.
If you are having a difficult time recovering from a difficult or traumatic birth, it is important to recognise how you are feeling. Don’t just hope that your feelings with go away or that how you are feeling is not valid or important.
Talk to your partner, friends, GP or counsellor about your experiences. Sharing your feelings with supportive people is important. You might not want to at first, but a lot of mums feel relieved once they do.
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