Birth trauma occurs when birth has been a frightening, traumatic and negative experience. This could be because they feared for their life, their partners life or their baby’s life during birth or because they felt out of control and disempowered or simply because they were treated unkindly.
The symptoms of birth trauma can vary but can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks, guilt, anger, sadness, depression, difficulty bonding with baby, difficulty relating to partner. These symptoms can ripple out into every aspect of life.
This form of PTSD can effect both mums, dads and birth workers.
What causes birth trauma?
A birth experience that was frightening to both or either parent and that is usually coupled with a loss of control can lead to birth trauma.
This could be because labour was long or full of intervention or perhaps because of medical problems that unexpectedly occurred. If birth unexpectedly goes wrong it can be traumatic especially if parents feel that the situation or options available weren’t properly explained or if they feel that what was happening was completely out of their control. A birth where parents have feared for their life or their baby’s can also be a very frightening experience. Similarly if injury or even death has occurred as a result of the experience then this can also lead to birth trauma.
What treatment is available?
- Deep Relaxation
- Recalling the event in a specific way whilst feeling safe and secure
- Imaging coping in the future and responding differently
The 3 step rewind technique is a very effective and well tested technique that neutralises the disturbing feelings associated with birth trauma. The memory of what happened still exists but it no longer provokes anxiety, panic, guilt, anger or sadness allowing the person to move forward with their life.
Lastly hypnosis can help restore feelings of calm and confidence to someone who has been plagued with the anxiety associated with birth trauma.
Usually two occasionally three sessions are enough for people for feel a significant difference and reduction in their symptoms.
This treatment is equally effective 3 months after the event as it is 3 years or even longer after the event. If PTSD symptoms are still evident then the treatment is useful in eliminating them.