A traumatic birth experience can be caused by distress during your baby’s birth. This can be caused by long, difficult labor, an unplanned cesarean, or other difficulties you weren’t expecting. In approximately 9% of births in the United States, the mother will develop post-traumatic stress syndrome after birth. This is typically caused by birth trauma.
Birth trauma is treatable, but many women do not seek treatment because they feel ashamed about their mental state. After all, this is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. Another reason some women do not receive treatment is they do not recognize that they have this problem.
If your baby also suffered during your traumatic birth and you believe it was caused by medical negligence, get legal help. Keep reading to learn more about birth trauma and PTSD, how you can prevent it, and how you can recover.
Birth Trauma and PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, can be devastating for new mothers. It can seriously interfere with their ability to function or care for their newborn. Some of the symptoms of postpartum PTSD include:
- Panic attacks
- Feeling detached
- Avoiding anything that reminds you of the birth
- Re-experiencing the fear you felt during the birth
Being diagnosed with PTSD after your baby’s birth is nothing to be ashamed of. Postpartum PTSD is highly treatable. This is not something you have to live with, as help is available.
What You Can Do to Prevent a Traumatic Birth
Some women are too traumatized by birth to have more kids. If you’ve had a traumatic birth but you still want to expand your family, it’s understandable you’d want to do anything you can to prevent having another negative birth experience in the future. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to lessen your chances of having a bad birth experience during your next child’s birth.
Create a Birth Plan
Develop a written birth plan with your birth team. Discuss and include the interventions you are open to, those you want to avoid. Explore your back up plan. Remember to plan for the postpartum period and to consider the support that will help ease your adjustment to motherhood, or to mothering an additional child.
Take Birth Classes
You can educate and empower yourself before your next birth by taking childbirth classes. These classes will teach you what you can expect during each stage of labor. They will also teach you techniques to manage your pain and to work with your body to deliver your baby without the interventions that often lead to problems during birth.
Get a Doula
A doula will act as your advocate throughout the birth process. Most doulas are trained to help women avoid birth trauma. They will be able to intervene during your labor and delivery if they see that the birth is straying away from your birth plan.
Don’t be afraid to lean on your partner for support throughout your pregnancy and the birthing process. They know what you’ve been through, and they can help you communicate your needs to medical professionals.
How to Move Past Birth Trauma
One of the most helpful things you can do after a traumatic birth experience is to learn how to manage your feelings so you can relax. There are plenty of meditation apps for new and expectant moms. You may also want to try yoga or meditation classes.
You should seriously consider seeking out a therapist who specializes in postpartum PTSD. A therapist can teach you how to manage your symptoms and your triggers so you can have the best shot at having the birth experience you wanted the next time around.
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