The Birth Trauma Association is a charity that supports women who suffer birth trauma – a shorthand term for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after birth.
What is Birth Trauma?
According to the latest research, approximately 30,000 women per year suffer trauma at birth in the UK. Having a baby is a happy experience, but for some women, it is not their experience. Some women and their babies suffer injuries as a result of the birth.
I remember my sons' heart dipped at 41 weeks, which led to an emergency caesarean section. I was terrified and I was afraid something awful was going on.
I also remember being left lying on my bed on the night shift with damp, bloodstained bedding. I was in pain, both my legs were swollen, I had a catheter bag, I couldn't stand up or walk after my C-section.
I asked the nurse several times to help me change, but she shrugged her shoulders as if that was not her concern. I wasn't a priority. She finally changed me just prior to the start of the morning shift. I was also given too much epidural and had a panic attack, unable to breathe after my C-section.
Such experiences can be scary and leave you afraid that something is going to happen to you or your baby. As with other traumatic experiences, – a traumatic birth can lead to symptoms of PTSD: flashbacks, a sense of heightened anxiety, constantly feeling on the alert, avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma.
Women affected by trauma at birth frequently find that there is no place to turn for help. Even other mothers who have not had traumatic birth may have difficulty understanding the effects of traumatic birth. This may make people lonely and depressed. After all, they often feel less than other women because they are incapable of forgetting their birth experience.
The nature of PTSD means that you can't stop thinking constantly about the birth experience, but very few people are aware of that. Even healthcare professionals don't always get it. Unfortunately, this lack of support can lead to a deterioration in relations with friends and family. Many women find themselves torn between their desire to have more children and their determination to avoid another pregnancy.
The Birth Trauma Association aims to address this isolation by giving women much-needed support and showing that they are far from being alone. By working together and giving women a voice, they are changing those practices that contribute to birth trauma.
They have a team of peer supporters: women who have all experienced traumatic birth themselves and been through a process of recovery.
If you’d like to talk to them over email about your experience, please contact them
You can also join our Facebook group for parents with birth trauma: www.facebook.com/groups/TheBta