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Nobody wants to look back on their birth experience as something that traumatised them. Unfortunately, for many people, that’s exactly what it feels like. Traumatic births can be births where something life-threatening happened to either mother or baby. But equally, births that sound straightforward may have been traumatising as a lived experience.

Birth trauma depends on the person’s perception of the experience itself – not what it looked like to anyone else. It can affect fathers/birth partners as well as mothers.

Birth trauma can be caused by someone feeling threatened or fearing for their own or their baby’s life, by miscarriage, stillbirth or severe complications. However, for many it can be caused by other, less obvious, factors such as loss of control, loss of privacy or dignity, uncaring or dismissive attitudes of the people around them, not feeling heard or listened to, lack of information or explanation, or non-consensual medical procedures.

Approximately 6% of women are diagnosed with birth related trauma but it is highly likely that many more are undiagnosed and live with the symptoms, sometimes for many years. Many of these are likely to be misdiagnosed as having postnatal depression as there is some overlap in the symptoms.

Traumatic events before, during or after birth can have long-lasting impacts such as difficulty bonding with baby, high levels of anxiety, relationship issues or effecting decisions to have another baby or not.

A person suffering from birth trauma could have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Intrusive, distressing memories of your birth or antenatal/postnatal experience 
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks/reliving the experience 
  • Hypervigilance
  • Anxiety or panic when something reminds you of your birth
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about birth and avoiding activities or places that remind you of your birth
  • Difficulty remembering parts of the birth or antenatal/postnatal experience 
  • Feeling a disconnect from those who are usually close
  • Unable to have or express loving feelings
  • Loss of hope for future

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please remember you are not alone and it’s not your fault – they are a normal response to experiencing a traumatic event.

Just because people can get on with their lives while having these debilitating symptoms, doesn’t mean they have to – now they can get relief with this fast and effective therapy. For some people, it’s like being given their life back as they haven’t felt like themselves due to the trauma. 

How does Birth Trauma Resolution work?

80% of people who have experienced a trauma will process it themselves within 4 to 6 weeks. However, for the remaining 20%, their memories of their trauma are stored with the strong emotional responses still attached, which can cause them to react in the same way when triggered. Birth Trauma Resolution (BTR) uses a series of techniques to help the brain to process traumatic memories, removing the stress response – flight, fight or freeze – and to help build confidence and emotional balance moving forward.

Most people have their trauma resolved with all symptoms gone in 2-4 sessions of BTR. However certain situations may require referral on to other professionals.

We start by using a screening tool to ensure if BTR is the best option, and to determine which treatments in BTR will suit you best. Then we create a treatment plan by discussing your goals.

Most people find it beneficial for me to help them thoroughly debrief their antenatal/birth/postnatal experience with sensitivity and respect. However, with BTR you can share as much or a little of the detail of the trauma as you wish as BTR works with the emotions that are attached to the trauma, not the details themselves. This may be helpful for those who don’t want to verbally express what happened.

Sessions consist of debriefing and validating, breathing techniques, guided relaxation and the rewind technique which removes those distressing emotions away your experience. Depending on the individual situation, other techniques may be used to help prepare for a future birth or reframe the future with positivity leaving you feeling calm and in control. Occasionally the sessions uncover other experiences that have been triggered by the birth experience which can be incorporated into the personalised treatment plan.

BTR techniques can also help prevent anticipatory birth trauma by removing emotional charges from the brain’s negative imagination of birth (which can be caused by previous experiences or simply by hearing traumatic birth stories etc.).

BTR works no matter how long ago the traumatic experience was – it has been used effectively years later. 

If you have any questions about this therapy, please contact me to arrange a chat (Niamh Healy, 0868577140, dublinantenatal@gmail.com or read more here https://www.mybumpmybirthmybaby.ie/birth-trauma-resolution.html).

The first session takes 90 mins – €90 . Subsequent sessions are 1 hr max – €70