Understanding Birth Trauma - A Journey to Healing

Empowering Healing and Recovery from Birth Trauma

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Birth is a life-changing event, but for some, it can be a source of lasting emotional and psychological pain. Birth trauma is a very real and very personal experience, and it can leave a lasting impact on both the mother and the child. Understanding what birth trauma is, why it happens, and how to find support is crucial for those affected.

Birth trauma is a term that describes the psychological and emotional distress experienced by a mother during or after childbirth. It can arise from a variety of factors, including a difficult labour, emergency interventions, a sense of loss of control, or concerns for the baby's well-being.

What is considered a birth trauma?

Birth trauma encompasses a wide range of experiences and can vary greatly from person to person. It may include feelings of powerlessness, fear, or horror during childbirth, as well as feelings of violation, shame, or guilt afterwards. Birth trauma can occur after a physically painful or life-threatening birth, or it can result from feeling unheard or unsupported during the process.

What is the most common birth trauma?

One of the most common forms of birth trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth, also known as postpartum PTSD. It can occur when a mother experiences events during childbirth that are perceived as life-threatening, extremely distressing, or that involve a loss of control or autonomy.

What are the effects of birth trauma later in life?

The effects of birth trauma can manifest later in life as anxiety, depression, difficulties in bonding with the child, or fear of future pregnancies. It can also impact the mother's self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being. Birth trauma can have long-lasting effects, but with the right support, it is possible to heal and move forward.

How do I know if my birth was traumatic?

If you find yourself constantly reliving the events of the birth, feeling anxious or upset, or experiencing nightmares or flashbacks, you may have had a traumatic birth. It is important to seek support and speak to a healthcare professional or therapist if you are struggling with these feelings.

What are the chances of birth trauma?

It is estimated that up to 30% of women may experience some level of birth trauma, with around 4% developing postpartum PTSD. The chances of experiencing birth trauma can be influenced by factors such as the mother's physical and mental health, the level of support received, and the specifics of the birth experience.

How do you resolve birth trauma?

Resolving birth trauma may involve therapy, support from loved ones, and self-care practices. One effective approach is the Rewind Technique, a therapeutic method that helps individuals process and release traumatic memories. At Sheffield Wellness Centre, we offer Birth Trauma Rewind Therapy, led by our birth trauma specialist Kris McKeowan, to help you heal from the effects of birth trauma and rediscover your inner peace.

Statistics on Birth Trauma

Birth trauma is a significant issue in the UK, affecting many women and their families. According to research:

  • Up to 30% of women may experience some form of birth trauma.
  • Approximately 4% of women may develop postpartum PTSD.
  • Around 20% of first-time mothers report feeling "very" or "quite" scared during birth.

(Statistics are based on studies available up to September 2021.)

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