What Is Birth Trauma?

Postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder (PPTSD) is a medically acknowledged condition caused by a traumatic birthing experience. Trauma can be emotional, psychological, and/or physical. PPTSD is a normal reaction to a traumatic event, which begins with emotions of fear, helplessness, or horror that then continue, evolve, and progress over time. Any number of experiences can be determined to have been traumatic, even those that appear ‘normal’ by medical standards. The exact definition of PPTSD is determined by the mother, who identifies her experience as traumatic. Some symptoms of PPTSD may be recurring flashbacks, guilt, anger, anxiety, avoidance, insomnia, vengefulness, feelings of isolation, and/or depression. Unlike Postpartum Depression (PPD), PPTSD may develop at any time, not just proximate to the initial event, and will continue over time if left untreated. Studies indicate that talking within a support group and journaling can result in immediate relief of PPTSD symptoms.