While labor is often a joyful event, it rarely develops exactly as we think it will. This causes disappointment or anguish among some women, and leaves a small proportion with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A negative birth means that mothers are more likely to be depressed. This can alter the way they relate to your baby, which can affect the development of the baby. Women's relationships with their partners (both sexual and emotional) can also become strained.
Women were more likely to consider birth as negative if they had instrumental delivery (with vacuum forceps) or cesarean section.
Companions also report more and more that they feel distressed, traumatized and helpless when things go wrong in childbirth.
After a traumatic birth, the fear of something similar may be so intense that some women delay later pregnancies; request cesareans or avoid hospitals for future births; or just never having another baby.
Why does not it work according to plan?
Most women want a normal vaginal delivery and many want to be able to do this without relieving pain and any medical intervention.
When the expectations of a delivery do not coincide with the reality, women can feel like a failure, and somehow they are to blame.
But women can not control the position of the baby, whether the baby is distressed during delivery, blood pressure increases or the development of diabetes. These factors may require more control and interventions, such as an emergency cesarean section.
When the birth is not carried out, it is rarely the fault of a woman. Sometimes it is a failure on the part of the care providers. And sometimes nothing could have changed the result.
It does not help to tell women that this is "just one day" in their lives and "at least they have a healthy baby." This rules out how women feel and risks women getting "stuck" in their trauma. Remember, there is no single definition of trauma: it is whatever the woman says it is.
Women should feel that they can talk about it and seek help if they need it.
Trauma-related mental illness
A small proportion of women who experience trauma in childbirth meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder postpartum (PTSD).
PTSD causes persistent, involuntary and intrusive memories, distressing dreams and dissociative reactions (outside the body) after a traumatic event. Postnatal PTSD causes intense or prolonged psychological distress after delivery.
Researchers estimate that post-traumatic PTSD affects between 1.7% and 9% of women who give birth.
Our recently published review of 53 research articles found that women are more likely to be diagnosed with PTTSD if they have: a history of trauma, sexual abuse or domestic violence; complications during pregnancy, birth or with the baby (such as the baby needing to be resuscitated); poor or abusive care; and lack of support.
This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original article.