During pregnancy, expectant mothers and their partners have many things to worry about. Ensuring they keep healthy, attend their antenatal classes, purchase all the new baby necessities, write a birth plan, decorate the nursery etc. etc.
One thing that is often not thought about is the prospect of a traumatic birth.
Each year around 30,000 women in the UK experience birth trauma; many describing their experience as ‘frightening’.
Traumatic Birth Scenarios
A traumatic birth causes fear of serious harm or death for either the mother or the baby.
Just a few examples could include;
- An unexpected labour where the baby is delivered at home or in a public place without time for medical assistance.
- A very fast labour where medical staff are unable to assist in time to follow a birth plan.
- A still birth or the birth of a baby with severe health problems.
- Complications during labour where the baby’s heart rate drops, the umbilical cord becomes tangled, baby becomes stuck and requires assisted labour or an emergency C-section.
- Injuries to the baby caused by medical professionals.
- Injuries to the mother caused by medical professionals.
- Sub-standard care whilst in hospital, for example being left alone on a ward for long periods of time, suffering an infection, going without food or water etc.
There are some scenarios during labour or birth that are entirely unavoidable and are an unfortunate part of life. Much of the time midwifes, doctors and nurses work tenaciously to ensure that mother and baby receive the highest standard of care, doing all they can to bring new-born babies into the world safely.
However, there are unfortunately times where medical negligence occurs, when avoidable harm comes to either mother or baby due to negligent care from the professionals. In these circumstances it is possible to submit a claim for compensation.
Talk to our legal team today on 03339 874011 to see if you have a claim. Our understanding and sympathetic team will be able to talk through your case and let you know what the next steps will be.
Mental Health after a Traumatic Birth
It is not unusual for mothers, and sometimes their extended family too, to suffer with their mental health after experiencing a traumatic birth; especially if the situation resulted in a loss or continued medical problems. It is important to realise that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Post Natal Depression (PND) are not the same thing. Mothers (and birth partners) can both suffer with their mental health following a traumatic birth.
Flashbacks, sleepless nights, depression, anxiety and social withdrawal can follow after a difficult birth or medical experience. Many people can have these symptoms triggered when they are faced with reminders of their experience such as a hospital visit, seeing pregnant women or babies or TV programmes on a similar subject. It is vital to recognise these behaviours and seek advice to help you manage them.
Steps to Finding Peace after a Difficult Birth
Depending on the circumstances around your difficult childbirth here are some suggested steps to help you find peace after a painful time.
Learn as much as you can about what happened and why
The first step to accepting what happened to you or your baby will come with understanding what went wrong. This may be too painful to consider at the time or shortly after the birth, but is something to research later. If you are considering having more children in the future it is good to know why certain things happened and if they were avoidable, what steps could be taken in the future – if not to help you, then to help others. Speak to medical professionals and keep in touch with your doctor.
Process your pain
Life can be busy with a new-born baby, or painfully empty if you were unfortunate not to bring your baby home from the hospital; but ensure you take time to process what happened. Some people find writing down their experiences helps them to manage the pain. You could write a journal or blog about your birth story. There are support groups online and offline that may help, so that you can share your experience with others who can relate.
Forgive and don’t blame yourself
The pressure on parents is already high so try not to add extra pressure by blaming yourself for things that went wrong during your labour or child birth.
Don’t compare yourself to other mothers
There will always be mothers that appear to breeze through their child-birth and those that gush about having such a wonderful and painless labour. But remember that there are also lots of mothers just like you who had a very traumatic time. Don’t minimise your pain by comparing it to others who had a ‘worse’ situation and don’t compare your experience to those that were lucky enough not to suffer.
Claim your life back
Don’t let what happened to you shape the rest of your life. Take small steps, one at a time to find yourself, take time to do things that you love doing, accepting any help along the way. Look after your mind and your body to help you mentally and physically recover.
If your trauma could have been avoided by actions of the healthcare team that looked after you during your birth, then ensure that you take action before it is too late. Many mothers don’t take action because they struggle to speak about what happened to them or they don’t realise that they were able to claim for their suffering. There is a strict 3 year time limit to making a claim for clinical negligence, however in any scenario it is advisable to speak to the team at Patient Claims to find out where you stand. Our team is made up of caring, understanding females, who have excellent knowledge of this area of law.
Be mindful and be kind to yourself
Take extra care of yourself at difficult times or anniversaries that trigger your pain. “It is OK not to be OK”. It is normal to feel sad, disappointed, angry – or all of these emotions at once.
If you or someone you know suffered a traumatic birth, difficult labour or suffered injuries during child-birth then please get in touch to see how we can help.
There are sizable compensation claims to be made when medical negligence has occurred, and although often no sum of money can dull the pain or memories of what happened to you, it can help when families fall on difficult times or are unable to work.
For a no-obligation, discreet and personal chat please call us today on 03339 874011, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org