Consequences and treatment options for mothers after birth trauma
In this article, we will provide an overview of how childbirth can be an emotionally traumatic experience for the mother and how these experiences can be worked through to avoid long-term consequences due to maternal traumatization as a result of a stressful birth experience. The central question is:“What are the consequences and treatment options for mothers after birth trauma?“
Introduction: What is birth trauma?
Birth trauma is a term used to describe both the physical and emotional pain and injury women experience during childbirth. In this article, we turn to “psycho-emotional birth trauma.”
Maternal psychological birth trauma is a relatively new term that has been used to describe the emotional and psychological reactions that some women have to the stressful birth experience. Under this umbrella term we understand a variety of personal psychological reactions to the birth experience. Some mothers feel that their birth experience was “too painful” or “too hard,” feel left out, abused, and deeply hurt.
Women who experience maternal psychological birth trauma are, among other things, at risk for developing postpartum depression after the birth of their child.
What are the risk factors for maternal psychological birth trauma?
Maternal anxiety before and during birth, as well as inadequate (emotional) support during birth from the obstetric team, are the most common risk factors for maternal psychological birth trauma. To prevent birth trauma, it is important that obstetricians and midwives have enough time and space for the mother to express her fears and concerns. Similarly, all staff involved in childbirth should be trained in trauma-sensitive interactions with women. Often, birth trauma would already be avoided through better communication and more sensitive interaction with the woman during labor, delivery, and after birth. One way to avoid the risk of birth trauma is to choose birth centers or hospitals staffed by experienced midwives and doulas who can help women feel safe. These birthing venues allow women to experience birth in a less clinical setting that is more similar to what they would have experienced at home.
What are the symptoms of maternal birth trauma?
Symptoms can range from emotional numbing and confusion to feelings of loss, grief, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. These reactions may take the form of physical pain, fear and anxiety during labor, or attachment problems after birth. Symptoms vary and are not limited to the mother, but can also affect the baby and the father. Trauma can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe, and can cause symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, PTSD, severe depression, and anxiety. It is estimated that 1 in 2 to 3 women experience stressful childbirth, which is subsequently one of the most common causes of mental health problems and attachment issues in women in the first few months after childbirth. In some cases, the stress can take a form that leads to postpartum suicide attempts.
Test for birth trauma
There have been few diagnostic tests that specifically addressed possible birth trauma. For a first orientation, the birth trauma test, which we provide free of charge on our website, can serve.
What treatment options are available after birth trauma
As varied as the symptoms that can be triggered by birth trauma are, so are the treatment options after a stressful birth, birth trauma or stress births. Some examples are talks, hypnosis, meditation as well as (trauma sensitive) yoga. The most important thing is to make sure that the patient feels safe and knows that she can rely on the therapist for support.
Specialized therapists for childbirth and birth psychology
Of great importance is that after a traumatic birth, mothers turn to therapists who specialize in childbirth. In the workup, both obstetric knowledge of the treating therapist is important to first understand what happened, as well as sound psychotherapeutic training. Most importantly, mothers feel understood in their individual pain.
In summary, the consequence of birth trauma is very individual. Likewise, reprocessing is very individual. After a stressful birth experience, women should have quick and easy ways to express their fears and concerns and turn to professionals who are trained in trauma-sensitive interactions with women.
A first contact is the help hotline difficult birth of the ISPPM e.V. and Mother Hood e.V. You can find more information at https://hilfetelefon-schwierige-geburt.de/ .
We are there for you personally
You are also welcome to contact us directly at any time. In a personal conversation after a birth trauma , we will give you recommendations on what you can do in your specific situation to work through your birth trauma and reduce or even avoid late effects.