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Birth Trauma

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Experiencing a traumatic birth can have a huge impact on mother, baby and any other family members who were present at the delivery. With the trauma being psychological, although sometimes accompanied by physical birth injuries too, the experience of having something go seriously wrong during childbirth can have severe and long-lasting consequences for the whole family.

Whilst not every traumatic birth experience is a result of medical professionals making the wrong decisions or offering a poor quality of care to mother and baby, sometimes it sadly is the case. If your birth trauma happened because of medical negligence, you might be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Whilst no amount of money can make up for what has happened to you and your baby, a successful clinical negligence claim means that you will be awarded an amount to help you and your family to try to move forward.

What causes birth trauma?

There can be many different causes to birth trauma, but, generally speaking, it refers to the distress experienced by the mother when things don't go as expected during childbirth and is usually related to a fear that either the mother or baby may die. A mother may experience birth trauma, for example, if she loses a significant amount of blood during childbirth, or if the baby becomes distressed during labour and perhaps an emergency caesarean section is required. Birth trauma is often also referred to as postnatal PTSD, although not everyone who experiences a traumatic birth will suffer from PTSD. Birth trauma can also be experienced in the aftermath of the birth itself as well as during the delivery.

Birth trauma effects on adults

Birth trauma can have a huge effect on the mother who gave birth, both in the short-term and long-term. The psychological distress experienced at the time can have lasting consequences and other adults, such as partners, who witnessed the events on the day might also be affected psychologically too. Many mothers and partners find that they require extensive birth trauma counselling over a period of time to alleviate their symptoms.

Birth trauma symptoms

Birth trauma ptsd symptoms are generally split into four main areas. Some people may experience one or two of these, but some may experience all of them, any of which can be very detrimental to normal life and can last for many months or years.

  • Reliving the birth trauma with flashbacks, having nightmares about it or memories of the event that intrude on unrelated thoughts.
  • Feeling the need to avoid things that remind of the birth trauma. This might mean not travelling past the hospital where it happened or can mean avoiding coming across other mothers with newborns.
  • Being hypervigilant and anxious about everything related to the baby because the parent is worried something terrible will happen to them. This goes beyond the usual levels of anxiety that many new parents experience.
  • Feeling unhappy and low, perhaps even guilty about the birth trauma. They may also have memory gaps from the birth experience.

Birth trauma in babies

The effects of birth trauma on babies is not fully understood. Some traumatic births may mean that the child has physical injuries as a result of things that occurred during the delivery. The type and severity of these injuries will factor into whether there will be any long-term consequences or not. In the case of a brain injury sustained during birth, there may potentially be lasting issues for the child which affect the whole family.

How does birth trauma affect brain development?

The ways or extent to which birth trauma can affect the brain development of the child will depend on the specifics of what happened. Studies show that things that happen even in birth can have a lasting impact on the child in some cases and can result in the baby not developing in the same ways or the same rates as other children.

Birth trauma solicitors

If you experienced birth trauma that you feel was due to the negligence of the medical professionals trusted with your care, you might be able to make a compensation claim. As experienced solicitors in clinical negligence claims that include birth trauma, we are ideally placed to help your family pursue the compensation that you deserve and that can help you all start to move forwards.

Get in touch with our expert team to find out if you have a claim and to discuss the best next steps for your whole family.

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