Birth Trauma Recovery

If your birth was difficult or you experienced a traumatic event in pregnancy or during the postnatal period, it may be that you are experiencing symptoms of trauma.

Common symptoms are:

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive memories. These can make you feel distressed or panicky.
  • Avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, for example going past the hospital where you gave birth or avoiding meeting other women with new babies.
  • Feeling hyper-vigilant: this means that you are constantly alert, irritable and jumpy. You might worry that something bad will happen to your baby.
  • Feeling low and unhappy. You may feel guilty and blame yourself for your traumatic birth. You may have difficulty remembering parts of your birth experience.

It’s not always the sensational or dramatic events that trigger childbirth trauma but other factors such as loss of control, loss of dignity, the hostile attitudes of the people around you, feelings of not being heard or the absence of informed consent to medical procedures.

Some of the factors that make birth trauma more likely are:

  • Lengthy labour, short labour or very painful labour
  • Induction
  • Poor pain relief
  • High levels of medical intervention
  • Forceps birth
  • Emergency caesarean birth
  • Impersonal treatment or problems with staff attitudes
  • Not being listened to
  • Lack of information or explanation
  • Lack of privacy and dignity
  • Fear for baby’s safety
  • Stillbirth
  • Birth of a baby with a disability resulting from a traumatic birth
  • Baby’s stay in the special care or intensive care unit
  • Poor postnatal care
  • Previous trauma (for example, in childhood, with a previous birth or domestic violence)

Partners who witness a traumatic childbirth experience can also feel traumatised and have symptoms of trauma.

Parents who are affected by birth trauma often find that there is nowhere to turn for support because other parents, who have not had traumatising births, can find it hard to understand the impact of a traumatic birth. This can make sufferers feel lonely, depressed and even guilty, as they are unable to forget their birth experience. A lack of support can mean that relationships with friends and family may deteriorate. For many parents, their greatest concern is the day-to-day difficulties they encounter bonding with their baby, who they see as a constant reminder of the trauma they have experienced.

If you feel that, three months after the event, you or your partner are still experiencing the symptoms of trauma, then you may benefit from seeking treatment.

I provide a simple but very effective 3 step process that neutralises the toxic feelings and symptoms of trauma. This is usually delivered over two or three sessions. This process activates a person’s own natural ability to heal by using deep relaxation and guided use of their memory and their imagination.

By freeing a person from their trauma symptoms, it is possible to create the opportunity to feel more positively about their situation and to begin enjoying parenthood.

Many parents desperately wish to move on but feel owned by their traumatic birth. This technique releases the feelings associated with the birth so that it is possible to look back and remember the birth with neutral feelings about it. The birth can still be remembered but it no longer provokes any anxiety.

Thanks to Alex Heath, Traumatic Birth Recovery.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about this process or discuss whether it could be useful for you, please call 07980 552232 or email anna@birthstory.co.uk for prices and availability.

Anna has a lovely, approachable and caring nature, she takes her role and responsibility to help women (and their partner) through these special yet emotional times. She helped me work through the issues I had with my first labour. Using a technique called ‘3 Step Rewind’, it helped me to navigate through the issues, putting each one into perspective, which in turn helped me control my anxieties towards the birth of my second baby. I’m now looking forward to my labour and meeting my second child! Thank yo,