Birth trauma refers to distress associated with childbirth. The condition may involve physical, psychological or emotional distress. Nearly half of all mothers report experiencing birth trauma. If this includes you, remember that your experience is valid, and take these steps to help yourself recover.
Acknowledge your traumatic experience
Not every mother who experiences birth trauma goes through the same experiences. While stillborn and birth injuries make up a large percentage of trauma incidents, many other factors can contribute to distress during birth. These may include the following:
- Unexpected complications
- Needing labor interventions
- Emergency caesareans
- Not receiving emotional or physical care after birth
Consider mental health care
Birth trauma often includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these cases, you may benefit from seeking the help of a mental health professional who can help you develop a treatment plan. When seeking a mental health professional, look for one with experience treating birth trauma.
Symptoms of PTSD may include:
- Feelings of constant guilt
- Constant worry that something will happen to your baby
- Quick irritation
- Avoiding places or things that remind you of your trauma
- Emotional numbness
Seek out a postpartum doula
While you may associate a doula only with the childbirth process, postpartum doulas provide the same emotional support after the birth for you and your partner. Postpartum doulas also help with the physical care of your baby.
Review your medical records
Reviewing your medical records may reveal that you experienced some medical misconduct or malpractice. When reviewing your records, you may wish to do so in the presence of a loved one or therapist.
Although most mothers anticipate that the birth of their child will create only happy memories, trauma may occur before, during or after the delivery. Healing from birth trauma will take time.