Birth Trauma Resources
Between 25 and 34 percent of women report that their births were traumatic. A traumatic birth experience is defined by circumstances in which the individual patient believes her life or that of her baby’s was in danger, or that a serious threat to the mother’s or her baby’s physical or emotional integrity existed. (www.pattch.org)
Stress caused by a traumatic pregnancy and delivery can often override the ability to emotionally cope, leading to psychiatric complications such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), postpartum depression (PPD), and postpartum anxiety (PPA). Suffering a serious illness, combined with an unexpected caesarean section, birth of a premature child, or infant loss, is a heavy burden to bear both physically and psychologically. Here are some resources for maternal mental health.
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Need to understand exactly what happened without dredging through your medical files? Ask your doctor to fill out this summary form to facilitate a discussion of exactly what happened.
When looking for a therapist, look to see if they are a trauma-informed provider. Ask your provider about their specialities in birth trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, medical trauma, and/or perinatal mood disorders. For a list of specialized providers, please see the professional resources page from our friends at Postpartum Support International.
If you live in California, Florida, or Minnesota (with more states being added), you may also check out the Professional Referral list provided by Dancy Perinatal Therapy.
If you live in Georgia, you may also check out resources from Peace for Moms Georgia.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and has demonstrated effectiveness for trauma. Find an EMDR therapist here.
Need to talk about your feelings during pregnancy or the postpartum period? Check out the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Mental Health Hotline, a confidential, toll-free hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges launched in 2022. The hotline is accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish. TTY Users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746.
The Maternal Mental Health Hotline is not intended as an emergency response line and individuals in behavioral health crisis should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Consider journaling. By writing things down, you can temporarily dissociate yourself from the world and start to chart your road to recovery. Write in it every day, even if it is only to state three good things that have happened that day.
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