What is birth trauma?

Birth trauma means different things to different people - only YOU get to decide if you've had a negative or traumatic birth experience.  Only YOU get to define what birth trauma means to you.



Common experiences for those who've had a traumatic birth can include (but are not limited to):

  • Unexpected interventions
  • Unexplained or un-consented interventions
  • Being treated rudely or disrespectfully 
  • Not being heard or your requests ignored 
  • Fearing for your own, or your baby's, life
  • Complete loss of control
  • Extreme pain and/or exhaustion 
  • Fear and confusion
  • Malpractice
  • Being provided misinformation
  • Physical injury - of yourself or your baby
  • Baby needing time in NICU, SCBU or NNU
  • Baby loss
  • Discrimination or disrespect due to ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, family make up, disability, birth philosophy
  • Simply not getting the birth you wanted

How does birth trauma impact?

Having a negative or traumatic birth experience can impact a person in many different ways. Some of these are profound and far-reaching.
Birth trauma can impact:

  • Bonding with baby
  • Breastfeeding success
  • Relationships with spouse/partner/family
  • The development of anxiety, depression, general distress
  • The development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder   
  • The development of hyper-vigilance
  • Confidence in parenting
  • Physical health

Birth trauma can impact in other ways – the impacts of the birth can be very different between different people as no person, or their experience, is the same.

If you feel like you've had a negative or traumatic experience around your birth then that feeling is real and it is valid.  Take a look at our Strategies page to find suggestions for processing and healing your experience.