Birth Trauma PTSD

WellMama Resource Guide: Birth Trauma PTSD

Typically, we think of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a reaction to a traumatic experience such as military combat or violent assault. But a traumatic experience can incorporate any scenario that involves the threat of death or injury to yourself or another person close to you. Birth trauma refers to a specific type of PTSD that occurs after childbirth.

WellMama provides a variety of support to women and their families struggling with birth trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pregnancy or postpartum anxiety and mood disorders. Those struggling with these emotions are welcome to call our hotline at 1-800-896-0410 to participate in our Mama-to-Mama Peer Support Program or attend one of our weekly support groups.

This section of the WellMama Resource Guide will focus on birth trauma PTSD. If you would like to contribute to the WellMama Resource Guide, please email resource guide volunteer Mandy Lindgren.

Birth Trauma PTSD

Birth trauma refers to a specific type of PTSD that occurs after childbirth. Women can suffer extreme psychological distress as a result of their childbirth experience for a variety of reasons, which are frequently related to the nature of delivery (Birth Trauma Association 2012).

Some women experience birth trauma as a result of feeling a lack of control, a loss of dignity, not feeling heard, or hostile attitudes of those around them during birth. Others may have a more sensational or dramatic event that triggers the birth trauma. Men who witness their partner going through these situations can also experience birth trauma.

family of five standing in a parkBlog Post: My Experience with Birth Trauma

Jessica is a Midwestern native and moved to Oregon with her husband Mike. Before coming, she taught school for four years and worked as a CNA for three. She is now a stay at home mom. Jessica has two young boys, George and Gilead, and has also had four miscarriages. Jessica loves to sew, create, and read. Jessica’s oldest, George, was twenty-two months old when she gave birth to her second child, Gilead. She had planned to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

External Resources

The Birth Trauma Association is a group of mothers in the United Kingdom who support women who have suffered difficult births. They provide support and advice to all women who experience difficulty coping with their childbirth experience.

International Cesarean Awareness Network is a nonprofit organization that works to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

Solace for Mothers is an organization for mothers who have experienced a challenging childbirth and for providers who work with perinatal women. Phone support by peer counselors is available.

Trauma and Birth Stress (TABS) is a charitable trust supporting mothers with postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder or who have experienced a traumatic birth.