What is Birth Trauma

Birth trauma is a term used to describe the emotional and psychological distress that can be experienced by women during or after a childbirth. It typically describes situations when the experience of giving birth was overwhelming, frightening, or unexpected, and the woman felt powerless and lacked control.  

A woman might consider her birth to have been traumatic in the event of birth complications which necessitated medical intervention. This might include an emergency cesarean section, forceps delivery, postpartum hemorrhage or more.  Birth injuries can also be very painful and distressing, for mother and baby.

Sometimes birth is experienced as traumatic because pregnancy and/or birth can activate memories of past traumatic events, and thus the woman feels similarly overwhelmed, distressed and out of control during birth.   

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include flashbacks, nightmares, avoiding reminders of the birth, such as difficulty returning to the hospital. Women may also struggle with anxiety, depression, guilt or shame. Sometimes mothers experience difficulty connecting with their newborn, they are overwhelmed with distress or feel numb as a result of their experiences.

Women who have experienced traumatic birth are at higher risk of postnatal depression, and it is important to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.  

How can the Centre for Clinical Psychology help following Traumatic Birth?

At the Centre for Clinical Psychology, we have trained over 750 health professionals from around Australia in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD.  Thus, we can say ‘we know trauma therapy’. All of our team are trained in CPT for trauma/PTSD.  

We provide a safe and supportive environment for parents and infants, and we have a number of dedicated perinatal psychologists who are experienced in supporting women during the perinatal period.  Our perinatal psychologists are also trained in CPT for trauma.   

Cognitive Processing Therapy is listed in the Australian PTSD Treatment Guidelines as a gold-standard treatment for PTSD (alongside EMDR and prolonged exposure), and it is backed by over 30 years of research.   

Call to book an appointment 03 9077 0122 or email admin@ccp.net.au, or BOOK ONLINE www.ccp.net.au/booking/

Medicare rebates available with a referral from your GP. 

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