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Tuesday, 20 May 2014 08:45

Birth Trauma Resources


In Westernized cultures, a healthy baby and healthy mom are generally accepted as a good outcome of pregnancy and birth. Frequently, the actual birth experience is not given much consideration. More often now, however, it is being realized and accepted that the birth experience may affect a mother's ability to breastfeed and bond with her baby as well as her overall confidence in being both a parent and a woman.

The raw emotions that a new mother feels are often put on the back burner because she has much more to worry about now that her baby has arrived. These emotions may also shaded by well-intentioned people who remind the mother that she should be proud that both she and her baby are doing well. The mother may be numb due to the utter shock, disbelief, and denial of what occurred during the birth. Whether there was actual physical or psychological trauma during the birth or the mother is just severely disappointed that she did not achieve the birth she desired, these women tend to be ashamed of their feelings and afraid to tell anyone. Sometimes the effects of a traumatic birth don't display until well into the second half of the baby's first year. In some instances, the effects are not apparent until after the child's first birthday or, if the mother is breastfeeding, until after the child is weaned. 

There is a name for these feelings: Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. About one-third of mothers will develop PPTSD1. Symptoms include flashbacks and nightmares of what happened, distress when reminded of the situation, and avoidance of anything that may be a reminder of the event. All of these symptoms may or may not be accompanied by symptoms of Postpartum Depression. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to keep in mind that you are not alone. There is support.

The following are resources to keep handy in case you or someone you know needs somewhere to reach out for support: 

Phone Numbers

  • Postpartum Support International 1-800-944-4773
  • Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice & Support 0843-28-98-401


Online Forums 


  • Rebounding From Childbirth: Toward Emotional Recovery by Lynn Madsen
  • Birth Crisis by Sheila Kitzinger
  • In Search of the Perfect Birth by Elizabeth McKeown
  • Traumatic Childbirth 
  • Cheryl Tatano Beck, 
  • Jeanne Watson Driscoll, and Sue Watson
  • Coping with Birth Trauma and Postnatal Depression by Lucy Jolin
  • Birth Trauma: A Guide for You, Your Friends, and Family to Coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Birth by Kim Thomas
  • Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin




1 American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "One in three post-partum women suffers PTSD symptoms after giving birth: Natural births a major cause of post-traumatic stress, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <>.



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