Birth Trauma Awareness Week
Birth trauma awareness week runs from 16th to the 22nd July. In 2023 the focus is PTSD – pospartum post traumatic stress disorder. But what is this week and why is it here? The key aims of birth trauma awareness week are:
- Educate to spread evidence based information. This is so that we can better prevent, diagnose and treat birth related trauma
- Amplify elevate the voices of women, non birthing parents and health professionals. All who are affected by this silent epidemic
- Advocate to improve prevention and access to treatment, including greater access to affordable treatment options. Ultimately seeking better outcomes for all affected.
Birth trauma is entirely subjective. This essentially means that if somebody feels they have experienced trauma through their birth experience then that is exactly what has occurred. It is not up to care providers or social spectators to make a decision as to whether an experience was traumatic or not.
I left midwifery because of the birth trauma I experienced as a staff member within delivery suite
Birth trauma not only affects the birthing individual, but often their partner, family, care providers and friends whom might be vulnerable to vicarious trauma. Reducing the incidence of birth trauma will benefit society as a whole.
Women and their families need to be involved in their birthing journey and the decisions surrounding birth to help reduce birth trauma
What is Birth trauma/ Postpartum PTSD?
These are terms used to describe the experience where a person experiences trauma or a stressful event within the context of pregnancy/ labour / birth and postpartum. These experiences could be related to physical affects where the birth experience might have been especially painful or prolonged. These experiences may also be attributed to specific interpersonal interactions with clients and their care providers. This is where the birthing person may have felt vulnerable or mistreated or spoken down to. It is important to be aware that any individual who shares that they experienced trauma in their birth journey is provided with respect and compassion. They will also need the appropriate referral networks so that they can received individualised care and treatment for their trauma.
How widespread is Birth Trauma?
It is known that up to 1 in 3 mums describe the birth of their baby as traumatic. This is only those who admit it. Birth trauma is a widespread issue and multifactorial. Many families have mismatched expectations for their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period and sometimes this can lead to a traumatic experience. This is devastating and preventable and unacceptable.
How can the MumSafe Team help?
Your mumsafe trainer is aware of appropriate resources to provide you if you feel that you or someone you know may require some additional support. Along with collaborative care from your GP, a perinatal mental health team and psychology professionals, safe postpartum exercise with your mumsafe trainer will only help to heal your body and mind from your experience of birth trauma.