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Birth injury » Birth trauma and PTSD


Studies show that birth trauma contributing to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in mothers after childbirth is often confused with Postnatal Depression.

Similar to PTSD in other life situations (caused by serious accidents and assault, for example), a difficult birth can scar mothers emotionally and cause trauma. It is now generally accepted that PTSD can be a result of birth trauma and is considered a birth injury.

Symptoms of birth trauma PTSD

Symptoms of delayed reactions to anything that threatened to seriously injure a mother or her baby; intense fear about giving birth again; flashbacks and nightmares; concentration problems; anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

For some women, the way their birth was handled by medical staff causes PTSD, which is as much a birth injury as any physical condition. A feeling of a loss of control, loss of dignity and birthing requests being ignored (like requests for pain relief) are often referred to.

Premature babies, fears about a babys ability to survive (especially if they are in intensive care) and poor monitoring while in intensive care are common concerns associated with PTSD. Partners of women who suffer from PTSD are usually affected and are particularly distressed when watching what their wives are experiencing.

Post natal depression and PTSD

PTSD is often confused with Postnatal Depression or Postnatal Illness, but it is not the same thing. Postnatal Depression (PND) is a depressive illness occurring after a woman has given birth. It ranges in severity from baby blues to postnatal psychosis and is found in one out of every seven mothers. Read more about PND at www.pni.org.uk

Symptoms of PND include feeling sad and tearful; anhedonia (an inability to feel joy); irritability; anxiety attacks and occasionally suicidal thoughts. Many women are given anti-depressants for PTSD by doctors who have incorrectly diagnosed them with PND, and end up having additional side-effects like lethargy or not being able to respond properly to their babies.

Mothers are advised by practitioners to evaluate their emotions themselves when trying to process feelings after a difficult birth and to consider alternative treatments like counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). For more information about birth trauma visit www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk

Lack of understanding about childbirth psychology

Reports show that many women in the UK feel that medical staff dont listen to them properly and that their wishes during childbirth are not clearly understood. Being ignored, being rushed in and out of hospital, having unnecessarily quick Caesareans to speed up the birthing process and being expected to get over their birth quickly are often given as examples of a traumatic birth.

Many women suffering after birth are made to feel weak if they cant cope and often isolate themselves as a result. Unfortunately, for many women, losing contact with friends and family and experiencing a lack of support means their relationships suffer as a result.

Losing interest in sex; not wanting to suffer another birth injury, not wanting to get pregnant or give birth again and avoiding routine medical examinations critical to female health - particularly invasive ones like smear tests - are also common reactions.

Making a birth injury compensation claim

Many mothers suffering from PTSD as the result of a birth injury do not know that they are entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.

If PSTD is suffered through birth trauma as a result of the attending obstetrician having not carried out practices with due diligence and care or any other medical negligence, you may be eligible to make a claim.

Our team are experts in personal injury cases and will listen with understanding to your concerns. Call us now on 01582 437070 and we will talk you through the birth injury claim.