Childbirth Trauma

What Is Childbirth Trauma

Whilst childbirth can be a joyous occasion, many parents encounter physical and/or psychological trauma as a result of childbirth. Psychological trauma can arise from issues like complications during labour, emergency procedures, medical interventions, or a lack of control during the birth. This can affect both birthing and non-birthing parents.

Postnatal depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all occur after childbirth. These issues may significantly impact a parent’s ability to bond with their baby and may lead to feelings of isolation affecting the families’ overall well-being.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of childbirth trauma may include:

  • Nightmares or distressing memories of the birth
  • Reexperiencing the traumatic part of the birth
  • Feelings of anxiousness or panic
  • Feelings of agitation or restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Avoidance of any reminders of the birth
  • Feeling detached from loved ones

Self-Management, Tips, and Strategies

  • Acknowledge how you are feeling and know that you are not alone.
  • Talk to others about how you are feeling. This could be family, friends, or professionals.
  • Ask for and accept support whilst you recover. Being a new parent is difficult even when there is no trauma.
  • Speak with your birthing team about what happened during your birth, ask to have anything you don’t understand explained to you.
  • Look after your physical wellbeing by getting adequate rest, eating a nutritious diet and getting some physical activity.
  • Use relaxation and meditation techniques.
  • Seek additional support if needed.

When can a psychologist help?

Whilst childbirth is a normal process, people who experience trauma during birth may need extra support to help them recover. A psychologist can help you to make sense of what has happened, and with strategies to help ease your symptoms. Our team is here to support you through this difficult time. You can book online using our Book an Appointment button, call us on (02) 4625 3339, or email us at

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