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The Impact of a Traumatic Birth and When to Make a Claim

Giving Birth

Wondering how a traumatic birth may affect a person, both physically and mentally? We’ll explore this in this article, and discuss when you should make a claim.

baby's feet

Childbirth is often seen as something magical, with parents instantly connecting with their children. However, this is far from the reality, as nearly one in two mothers report experiencing trauma during their birthing experience.

Birth trauma can occur to the baby, the mother, or both. It can consist of the baby becoming physically or mentally damaged in some way, or the mother being harmed internally or externally. Either way, it could lead to long-lasting medical conditions to the infant and/or the mother, be it pelvic injuries, brain damage, and so forth.

Not every traumatic birth is the fault of the medical professionals, but it can be a case of medical negligence. This is where seeking compensation through, for example, a no win no fee medical negligence claim, may be necessary. In this article, we’ll discuss the physical and mental ramifications of a traumatic birth, and when it is worth seeking compensation.

The Physical Impact of a Traumatic Birth

Birth trauma will no doubt involve a number of physical ramifications for both the child and the mother. For the child, Child Birth Injuries has a comprehensive list of the injuries that may occur to a baby from a traumatic birth.

For the mother, some physical injuries may include vaginal or anal tears and pelvic injuries. These can cause lasting damage to the mother. What’s more, the psychological issues described below may also manifest themselves physically in the mother’s body long after the fact.

The Mental Impact of a Traumatic Birth

A traumatic birth may initially make you think of the physical impacts above. However, what can be more long-term is the mental trauma that can ensue post-traumatic birth. Some common mental side effects may include:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very common side effect from traumatic births. This occurs when something happens to a person that has a huge impact on their life and is hard to process.

In the case of a traumatic birth, the mother may have been through a life-threatening situation, where the future was very uncertain. They may have been in hospital for a very long time, and the mental scars of this can take a long time to heal.

The mother may experience intense feelings, as though they are experiencing the trauma again. They may also feel numb and have trouble sleeping. Vivid nightmares and anxiety can also ensue, and many places and situations may be mentally linked to the trauma, causing panic attacks.

woman crying

Postnatal Depression (PND)

More specifically, postnatal depression is also a side effect of a traumatic birth. PND is a type of depression that starts after having a baby.

It is normal for mothers to feel down after giving birth, as the hormones can cause a shift in mental state. What’s more, being a new parent is a huge adjustment, causing loss of sleep and a change in routine. This is known as the ‘baby blues’, and 80% of mothers may experience this.

However, PND has a much greater mental impact and can last a lot longer. Around one in between seven and 10 mothers may go on to experience PND, which can emerge even 12 months after having the baby.

Partners may also experience PND. Some symptoms may include:

  • Low self esteem
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Negative thoughts
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low libido
  • Inability to cope
  • Feeling worthless or that life is meaningless

Lack of Emotional Connection to the Baby

One common side effect from a traumatic birth is the inability to connect with the baby. This could be for a number of reasons, whether it’s the postnatal depression or the imbalance in hormones. For many, it’s down the fact that the child may take the mother back to the traumatic times of giving birth, and any frightening or unhappy memories that come with it.

It’s important that mothers understand that this is completely normal. Although we’re often taught to believe that the mother-child connection will be immediate, this isn’t the case for many people, especially those in these traumatic situations. Be sure to give it time.

When Should You Make a Claim?

Although not always the case, sometimes birth trauma can be caused by medical negligence or malpractice. According to the Cerebral Palsy Guide, this can occur when “doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals do not meet a high standard of care during delivery, leading to complications during birth.”

Some examples could include not medically intervening, not acting quickly enough in an emergency situation, or using excessive force.

In cases where this is apparent, parents can and should pursue legal compensation. This can help to bear some of the cost of any long-term medical treatment required for both the mother and child, as well as any ongoing mental support that may be required.

newborn baby

A Traumatic Birth Shouldn’t Be Ignored

As you can see, birth trauma can manifest in a number of ways, and can affect the children and parents both physically and mentally. It’s truly important that we break the stigma surrounding childbirth to understand that not everyone experiences a beautiful birth. Some people may experience life-long impacts.

Because of this, it’s important that parents know that, if something doesn’t feel right about how the situation was handled, a medical negligence case should be pursued.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.