How Common Is Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is difficult to deal with. Sometimes it’s difficult to acknowledge that you have birth trauma because you feel like other mothers had it worse. Other times, it’s difficult to deal with because the people around you don’t understand how a birth can be so traumatic.
But the truth is that birth trauma is much more common than people think. Part of it might be because people aren’t exactly aware of what birth trauma might be. But it might also be because people experiencing birth trauma don’t want to share what they’re feeling with people who might dismiss them.
Whether you’re pregnant and worried about experiencing birth trauma in the future, or you’re worried that you might be currently experiencing birth trauma, it’s important to know exactly what birth trauma is and how common it is among new parents.
What Is Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma can be any kind of injury or damage one gets during labour. It doesn’t have to be a physical injury, though it can be a part of it. But birth trauma can also be psychological.
Maybe the labour itself was difficult and intense and required medical intervention. Or maybe you felt like you lost control during childbirth. You might have felt helpless and unheard, and the people around you might’ve been less understanding than you’d hoped.
But that’s only how birth trauma starts. It stays after the procedure. You may feel shocked or numb. Maybe you start experiencing anxiety or panic attacks. You might start remembering the event, maybe even experience nightmares. Or maybe you want to avoid anything that reminds you of giving birth. It’s also very common for people who experience birth trauma to decide not to have any more children.
How Common Is It?
Birth trauma is much more common than people think. There are estimates that say one in three women who give birth can experience it. There is no one singular reason why this is the case.
Some people are more prone to experiencing birth trauma because of their past. Maybe they’ve gone through traumatic experiences before, or they’re prone to anxiety. They might not have received adequate support, both from their healthcare provider and their social circles. It’s also possible that there were complications with the birth itself, and the baby might not have survived.
There are many reasons why the number of people who experience birth trauma is so high, but it’s important to remember exactly what this means: if this is something you’re experiencing right now, you are not alone.
Can You Prevent Birth Trauma?
If you are pregnant and haven’t given birth yet, you might find this a bit scary. It’s normal to wonder if there’s any way you can prevent experiencing birth trauma. The problem is that a big part of childbirth is not really up to us. Even then, there are some things you can do to diminish your chances of experiencing birth trauma.
You can try preparing for it beforehand and work on managing your expectations about childbirth so that they’re realistic. You can work on creating a support network for yourself and seeking help whenever you need it. Even if you can’t prevent birth trauma, you will at least be prepared for it.
If you’ve already given birth and you think you might be experiencing birth trauma, that’s okay. It’s possible to heal from what happened to you. But, just like expecting mothers who are scared of experiencing birth trauma, it’s important to have the right kind of support.
If your friends and family, if support groups aren’t enough, then don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Make an appointment, and we can work together on helping you heal from the trauma you experienced.
You can also learn more about how Mindful Reflections can support you by checking out our Birth Trauma Therapy page.