Dr and Daughter

The realities of a traumatic birth

written by Dr and Daughter

  1. #birth
  2. #labour
  3. #trauma
  4. #baby
  5. #newborn
  6. #advice
  7. #ptsd
  8. #c-section
  9. #mental health

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Anyone who has given birth will tell you that things do not always go exactly according to plan. For many of you, your birth was not just as you imagined or hoped. For some of you it may have been more painful, longer, less serene, less dignified, more out of control than you had expected - and perhaps as you held your baby for the first time you felt a tinge of sadness or anger about your experience.

Hopefully this feeling has faded with time as you have bonded with your baby, and if you decide to have another child then you will not be too overwhelmed by thoughts of your next birth.

Sadly, there are a small number of women for whom this is not the case. If you have suffered any form of distress or trauma whilst giving birth, and the impact of the experience has had life-altering implications for you, mentally or physically, then you may need some help in dealing with this. 

It is possible to develop Postnatal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of a particularly difficult birth.

Symptoms of PTSD can include  

  • Flashbacks

  • Anxiety  
  • Panic  
  • Avoidance of Hospitals or other Triggers  
  • Inability to talk or think about your birth  
  • Sleep issues  
  • Fear of giving birth again

Whether or not you are suffering from PTSD, or just anxiety or distress related to your birth, it is important to seek help.   You may be more likely to suffer from PTSD if you experienced one or more of the following during your birth.  

  • A long and painful labour

  • An emergency C Section

  • Shoulder dystocia

  • An assisted delivery (forceps/ventouse)

  • A severe tear or cut

  • A traumatic experience of any kind during the birth

  • Your baby had trouble breathing when he/she was born

You may not understand why certain things happened as they did during the birth, and you might feel very disappointed or upset when you think about the birth.

Talking to a professional about the sequence of events and why things happened can help you to feel more confident and empowered about your next birth, should you chose to have another baby.

If you would like to come and talk to top obstetrician Roger Marwood MSc FRCOG at a Birth Debriefing session in London, then please do get in touch at [email protected]

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR BIRTH STORY, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, PLEASE CONTACT US AT [email protected] - WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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