The Birth Trauma Association estimate that more than 200,000 women may feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD.
Vicki Cockerill from Norwich was affected by PTSD following a traumatic birth with her first son. She said: “To anyone who has had a traumatic birth, seek help and talk about it. Do not feel ashamed, do not worry you will be judged as ungrateful. Do not put it down to, ‘well it was one of those things’. Share, educate and acknowledge it. We need to be changing the message that birth trauma isn’t shameful and we need to set up a dedicated support system for those that go through it”.
Traumatic births are also implicated in PTSD and many other postnatal mental health problems, and fathers may be affected too. Evidence suggests that birth trauma can impede breastfeeding, and some women are so traumatised that they choose not to have more children.
“Birth can be a highly emotive subject, and is often presented in a divisive way,” says The Make Birth Better co-founder and Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist Dr Rebecca Moore “There’s pressure on parents for birth to be a joyous time, but many have quite a different experience and too often they don’t receive the support they deserve.”