Processing A Traumatic Birth


Resources > Processing A Traumatic Birth



August 28, 2023


Image of pregnant woman in hospital bed with monitor and IV

No matter how much you prepare, plan, and anticipate, childbirth is still a whirlwind of activity with moments that don’t go as expected. For most birthing parents, even these hiccups in the plan don’t interfere with the joy of meeting their new baby. But many others are left processing a traumatic birth experience that can trigger significant PTSD. Therapy and other modalities help parents heal physically and emotionally after birth trauma.

At Jewell Chiropractic, our goal is to support the whole person. We do this through chiropractic care, massage therapy, and community classes and groups. If you’ve experienced a traumatic birth or need care for any other reason, we invite you to connect with us. You can also book an appointment at your convenience online here.

What Is Birth Trauma?

A traumatic birth is when circumstances threaten or compromise the physical and/or emotional well-being of the mother or child during childbirth. Many issues and situations can lead to a traumatic birth experience:

  • Medical Complications 
  • Unplanned Interventions
  • Unexpected Outcomes
  • Support Person Unable To Attend
  • Loss of Control
  • Not Being Heard or Taken Seriously

Image of doctors performing a c-section.

Naturally, these traumatic experiences often include fear, anxiety, and uncertainty and can leave lasting scars, both visible and invisible. New parents may have tremendous physical healing to cope with in the wake of trauma. They might feel detached from their child or partner or guilty about how everything occurred. And they often experience panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and other signs of PTSD.

Left untreated, birth trauma may impact a parent’s sense of self, her relationship with her baby, and her overall well-being. It frequently impacts the birthing partner, too, and can carry over to future pregnancies. 

But there is help.

Support While Processing a Traumatic Birth

Experiencing a traumatic birth doesn’t automatically sentence you to a life with full-blown PTSD. Excellent knowledge and support are available to parents who are recovering and processing these events.

Here are some of the most effective ways to help yourself heal and recover.

Birth Trauma Therapy

Connecting with a behavioral therapist who specializes in birth trauma is ideal. They will have a unique understanding of how traumatic birth experiences manifest and how to support your recovery.

Processing a traumatic birth often requires the support from a trained therapist.

However, we also know that finding a therapist takes time, and finding someone with this specialty may be challenging. If you can’t locate a birth trauma therapist, look for someone whose practice is trauma-informed. Even if they don’t have specific experience with traumatic births, they will be able to help and will recognize the mind-body connection involved in your recovery.

Your therapist can guide you in establishing coping strategies for anxiety and help you stop reliving the trauma over and over. Under their care, you can shift the experience to your long-term memory to reduce or eliminate triggers and flashbacks, helping you avoid or recover from PTSD.

Some providers also utilize eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to help parents process their experiences. This form of treatment can be highly effective at treating PTSD symptoms.

Trauma-Informed Body Work

Even under the best of circumstances, childbirth puts great stress on a parent’s body. And if trauma is involved, the physical toll can be long-lasting and significantly impactful to your daily life.

Image of woman receiving chiropractic care.

Trauma-informed massage therapy, pelvic floor therapy, and chiropractic care are respectful, compassionate ways to release trauma from your body as you heal. Despite what social media may tell us, there is no rush or need to “get your body back” postpartum, and there is no hurrying your mental and physical recovery. You have the right to nurture your mind and body as you see fit during this crucial healing time.

Support Groups

For some folks, having a facilitated community of parents to meet with can be very helpful. Postpartum support groups offer a safe space to process the events surrounding your child’s birth, and they allow you to share with families who may have had similar experiences.

Our Team Is Here for You

The Jewell Chiropractic providers offer a range of services and treatments to help you heal and recover from a traumatic birth or other difficulties. We look forward to supporting you and welcome you to join a class or schedule your appointment here

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Take care and live a life of wellness.