Birth trauma can happen to anyone and can have lasting effects. Your mental health, sexuality, breastfeeding, and family planning can all be impacted by birth trauma. Let’s look at some of the reasons why birth trauma may happen, how to prevent it, and how to heal from it.
Causes of Birth Trauma
Trauma from birth can happen whenever there is a perceived threat. There are many factors during labor that can lead to birth trauma, such as:
Not feeling in control
Lack of information
High levels of pain
Not feeling supported
Not everyone who experiences these situations develops trauma, and the opposite can be true too. Sometimes people can experience birth trauma even when their birth goes exactly according to plan. But there are ways to help reduce the chances of birth trauma from happening.
Preventing Birth Trauma
Your Birth, Your Way
At My Family Birth Center, you are in control of the way you give birth. You have freedom to move around. You can give birth in the position that is most comfortable for you. Cervical checks are only performed after you have requested or have consented to one.
It’s important to know your boundaries and your triggers. It may be helpful to write them down and give the letter to your midwives. This will help lay the foundation for your birth plan.
Labor and Delivery Masterclass
In the weeks leading up to your expected due date, our midwives provide a masterclass to you and your partner or support person. This masterclass will cover stages of labor, different laboring positions, coping strategies, and much more. They can also provide you with a list of resources to prepare you for childbirth.
Having a good support system in place during pregnancy is vital. Who you choose to be in your support system is up to you. Most commonly, people include their spouse, close friends, family members, or doulas for their support system. Make sure these are people you can trust and will be able to give you the emotional support you need.
During labor, you will have access to birth tubs and coaching from our midwives. They will be able to support you emotionally, mentally, and physically to make you as comfortable as possible. They can show you visualization and breathing techniques to make your pain as minimal as possible. As you go through contractions, they will be there to encourage you and talk you through them.
While no one can plan for every emergency situation, there are ways to help reduce birth trauma from occurring. Our midwives pay close attention to how your labor is progressing. As soon as they recognize that you may need additional medical care, they prepare for a hospital transfer.
If an emergency does occur and a transfer to the hospital is needed, the midwives will call the hospital ahead of time to prepare them for your arrival. The midwives will follow behind your vehicle and stay with you during the birth for as long as the hospital allows it. They are still interested in providing you with emotional support. If you have already given birth, the midwives will call EMS for transfer.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing from any trauma, however you may find one or a more of these tips may be helpful in healing your trauma-
Therapy– Therapy is a great way to help you work through birth trauma. Your therapist may help you see your birth from a different perspective and give you tips to avoid birth trauma in the future if you have another baby.
Art and Creative Writing– Art and writing can be very therapeutic in allowing you to process and express your emotions surrounding birth.
Intentional Movement– When you feel triggered, it may help to move your body and work through it. You may be inclined to do some light yoga, or tap your fingers together to redirect your attention and be present.
Discuss Your Birth– Talking about what transgressed during your birth may help you feel better about it.
Meditation– Taking the time to really sit down and meditate on your birth may be what you need to process what you experienced.
Processing and working through trauma can be hard, and it may take a while, but you are not alone. Your care does not end once you have given birth. Our midwives have a vested interest in providing you the best care for you and your baby.
Contact us today for more information on preventing and healing from birth trauma.
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
Pregnancy and infant loss still has so much stigma around them making it hard for women's stories to be talked about openly. By raising awareness to these issues, we hope to provide women with a safe place where they can express themselves and feel heard.