Had a traumatic birth? Here are some steps you can take next

Claire Small's picture
Authored by Claire Small
Posted Monday, January 27, 2020 - 6:32am

Most women feel a little nervous about giving birth, but in most cases, there is usually a good outcome and mother and baby are fine. However, there can be a number of things that can go wrong, and if they do, this can lead to the mother feeling traumatised after the birth. If this has happened to you, there are things you can do to help you feel more in control and start to heal from the experience.

See a Medical Professional

A traumatic birth can be something that leaves you feeling shaken for a long time, so it’s important to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Negative experiences during childbirth can lead to post traumatic stress disorder — also known as PTSD — and medical professionals are becoming more aware of this condition. Try speaking to someone you trust, from a doctor to a health visitor, about the mental aspect of your recovery.

Take Care of Your Physical Health Too

Depending on the area you live in, some women don’t get a follow-up check after birth, so if you have any physical problems it’s worth seeing your doctor. A traumatic birth could lead to problems with your pelvic floor or even a prolapse, so any issues such as urine leakage, constipation or a heavy sensation in your pelvic area will need to be examined.

Consider Whether to Take Legal Action

If your traumatic labour led to a birth injury due to negligence, then you may be able to claim for compensation. While women are often wary of seeking compensation, the money may be useful if your child will need additional support or care in the future, so it is certainly worth considering. Some people find this kind of legal action helps them to bring the medics who were negligent to account, so it helps them get closure after a traumatic experience.

Consider Counselling

If you don’t want to be stuck on an NHS waiting list, or your GP isn’t taking your mental health issues seriously, then you may wish to consider private counselling. If you’re a student or on a low income, then some counsellors will give you a discounted rate — and private counselling doesn’t always cost as much as people think. An hour with a counsellor per week could make a big difference after a traumatic event and help you start to enjoy the early days of motherhood.

Talk to Your Partner

Your partner may not know exactly what you went through, or may not realise that you have been left traumatised, so it’s important to talk to them about how you feel. This can also help you see things from their perspective and you can figure out what went wrong together. 

A traumatic birth can have a big impact on your life, making it difficult to bond with your baby and can lead to PTSD or postnatal depression, or even leave you or your baby with physical injuries. While you can’t turn back time, there are things you can do to help you get closure so you can start to move forward with your life.