The Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide

Lamaze International and PATTCh (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth) are proud to announce the newest resource on Giving Birth with Confidence, the Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide. We hope that this new collection of resources will help women and families in their journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond. 

 

Dear Giving Birth with Confidence Readers,

The members of PATTCh (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth) would like to thank Lamaze International and Giving Birth With Confidence for the opportunity to share a series of posts addressing traumatic childbirth. This initial Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide is a preliminary collection of reflections written by many of the PATTCh Board members. The goal is to begin a conversation that explains the components of traumatic birth, increases awareness, and promotes prevention. Through multiple professional perspectives, our hope is to begin to shed light on the symptoms, risk factors, treatment and prevention of traumatic birth.

A birth is defined as traumatic if the woman was or believed she or her baby was in danger of injury or death, and she felt helpless, out of control, or alone, and can occur at any point in labor and birth (Beck, 2004a).  It is important to recognize that it is the woman’s perception that determines the diagnosis, whether or not clinical staff or caregivers agree.  Even though physical injury to mother or baby often occurs during a traumatic birth, a birth can still be traumatic without such physical injury. Unfortunately, clinical symptoms of full diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur for mothers andpartners following a traumatic birth, the effects of which impact attachment, parenting, and family wellness.

Current research has demonstrated rates of full Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to traumatic childbirth ranging from 5.6% (Creedy, Shochet, & Horsfall, 2000) to 9% (Beck, Gable, Sakala & Declercq, 2011).  The rates of having experienced post-traumatic stress symptoms, but not a fully screened diagnosis of PTSD are as high as 18% (Beck, et al. 2011).

Studies have demonstrated common themes in the experiences of PTSD due to childbirth as: (a) perceived lack of communication by medical staff; (b) fear of unsafe care; (c) lack of choice regarding routine medical procedures; (d) lack of continuity of care providers; and (f) care being based solely on delivery outcome (Beck, 2004a).  These experiences occur globally. Preliminary studies in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Nigeria have reported rates of PTSD from 1.25% to 14.9% (Beck, 2011). Long-term effects of PTSD secondary to childbirth include attachment and parenting difficulties (Bailham & Joseph, 2003).

PATTCh is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth. Our mission is to develop cross-disciplinary relationships, research, and programs that:

  • prevent PTSD following childbirth through education, interdisciplinary collaboration, and multidisciplinary research;
  • educate perinatal care providers and paraprofessionals in the prevention and treatment of birth and reproduction related trauma;
  • encourage the development of culturally appropriate therapeutic approaches to post-traumatic stress symptoms following childbirth;
  • promote healthy birth practices for all women and families;
  • promote evidence-based research regarding PTSD secondary to childbirth;
  • increase global awareness of the prevalence, risk factors, and effects of PTSD secondary to childbirth; and
  • support collaboration and understanding among all stake-holders, including: researchers, policy makers, medical and mental health care providers, educators, community members, volunteers, women, and families.

PATTCh hopes to educate childbearing women and families and maternity care professionals; develop effective prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care practices to prevent or reduce traumatic birth and post-birth PTSD; and identify and promote effective treatments to enhance recovery. We hope this series of articles will educate, inspire, and reassure you, and we look forward to your comments.

Walker Karraa, MFA, MA, CD(DONA)
President, PATTCh

www.pattch.net
info@pattch.net
twitter: @PATTCh_


Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide

What to Do During a Traumatic Labor and Birth to Reduce the Likelihood of Later PTSDPenny Simkin, PT

Pre-Existing Risk Factors for PTSD and Childbirth
Heidi Koss, MA, LMHC

Living Through Traumatic Birth: Loss, Grief, and Recovery
An interview with Katie Rohs

Breastfeeding after a Traumatic Birth
Teri Shilling, MS, LCCE, CD(DONA), IBCLC

10 Questions for a Partner of PTSD Survivor
Walker Karraa, MFA, MA, CD(DONA)

Treatment Options for Trauma Survivors with PTSD
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA

Fathers and PTSD
Walker Karraa, MFA, MA, CD(DONA)

Having a Baby after Traumatic Birth
Suzanne Swanson, PhD, LP

No “Typical” Birth: NICU Experiences and PTSD
Leslie Butterfield, PhD

Trauma and Personal Growth: New Frontiers in Research
Walker Karraa, MFA, MA, CD(DONA)

 

The Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide© is the property of PATTCh (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth). It is not a medical or psychological treatment recommendation and is only intended for educational purposes. Please consult your care provider for further diagnosis and/or treatment. For more information regarding PATTCh, please contact info@pattch.net.
References
  • Bailham, D., & Joseph, S. (2003). Post-traumatic stress following childbirth: a review of the emerging literature and directions for research and practice. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 8, 159-168.
  • Creedy, D. K., Shochet, I. M., & Horsfall, J. (2000). Childbirth and the development of acute trauma symptoms: Incidence and contributing factors. Birth, 27, 104-111.
  •  Beck, C. T. (2004a). Birth trauma: In the eye of the beholder. Nursing Research53(1), 28-35.
  •  Beck, C. T. (2004b). Posttraumatic stress disorder due to childbirth: the aftermath. Nursing Research53(1), 216-224.
  •  Beck, C. T. (2011). Metaethnography of traumatic childbirth and its aftermath: Amplifying causal looping. Qualitative Health Research21(3), 301-311.
  •  Beck, C. T., Gable, R. K., Sakala, C. & Declercq, E. R. (2011). Posttraumatic stress disorder in new mothers: Results from a two-stage U.S. national survey. Birth, 38: 216–227.doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.2011.00475.x

Avatar of Cara TerreriAbout Cara Terreri
Cara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she's a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began study to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula (learn more about her services at www.SimpleSupportBirth.com). She continues to stand in awe of the power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and enjoys helping women discover their own power and joy in the journey to motherhood.

Comments

  1. Walker, thank you for putting this resource list together. It is so important. Too many women suffer a traumatic birth and have nowhere to turn.

  2. Hi Walker – Thanks for putting this resource list together. It is fantastic! And PATTCH looks awesome! Great way to bring attention to this area of maternal mental health!

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