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Healing After Birth: Acknowledging and Recovering from Birth Trauma

Birth Trauma awareness week

From July 15th to 21st, we honor Birth Trauma Awareness Week (BTAW). Here at Mind Body Baby NC, we want to break the silence surrounding the often-unseen impact of traumatic birth experiences. These experiences can affect birthing parents in Charlotte, NC, and families across the country. Childbirth is rightfully celebrated as a momentous occasion, but for some, the reality can be deeply distressing. We, along with many others in our community, understand this truth all too well. Acknowledging birth trauma is vital to reduce stigma, fear, and isolation related to experiences within the community.


What is Birth Trauma?

Birth Trauma support Charlotte NC with Mind Body Baby

So, what exactly is considered birth trauma? Birth trauma isn't simply physical injuries sustained during childbirth, although those can certainly be a part of it. It encompasses a wider range of emotional and psychological distress experienced by birthing parents (and sometimes partners) before, during, or after childbirth. This distress can stem from feeling unheard and unsupported during the birthing process. Medical interventions, unexpected complications, or a birth experience that falls far short of expectations can also trigger birth trauma.


Birth trauma includes a wide range of feelings of powerlessness and lack of control. These experiences can impact bonding with the baby, breastfeeding, mental health, and overall well-being. The critical takeaway is that birth trauma is a valid experience, and its impact on cognitive and emotional well-being should not be minimized.


What Classifies as Physical or Psychological Birth Trauma?

Birth injuries, whether physical or psychological, may or may not be identified immediately. Over time and during your recovery from birth, you may notice that something isn't right, and you may be feeling off. Here are a few ways that birth trauma can impact you physically and psychologically.


Physical trauma:

  • Perineal tears

  • Bladder damage

  • Pelvic floor muscle damage

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)

  • Infection

  • Pelvic fractures

  • Cesarean wounds

  • Hysterectomy

  • Postpartum hemorrhage


Psychological trauma:

  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Postnatal depression and anxiety (PNDA)

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • The feeling of being unsafe or uncomfortable due to biases and how you were left to feel about your birthing experiences.


Birth Trauma Awareness Week

Birth trauma affects a surprising number of birthing people. Studies suggest that anywhere from 3% to 16% of birthing parents experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after childbirth. This number translates to millions of individuals worldwide struggling with the emotional and psychological impact of a traumatic birth experience.


Although discussions on perinatal mental health have significantly progressed, women, birthing individuals, fathers, and partners continue to slip through the cracks in healthcare. Here at Mind Body Baby NC, we understand that birth trauma is a real and significant issue. During Birth Trauma Awareness Week, we want to emphasize that you are not alone. We offer support, resources, and a safe space for birthing parents in Charlotte, NC, to share their stories and find healing.


Informed Consent

Informed consent is the cornerstone of a respectful and empowered birth experience. Informed consent means understanding the interventions and procedures offered during childbirth and their benefits and risks. Knowing what questions to ask is crucial. Research common interventions and write down any specific concerns you might have. Remember, your partner should also be informed and involved in decision-making.


Understanding hospital protocols and how they might impact your birth plan is essential. Familiarize yourself with their policies on things like continuous fetal monitoring, pain management options, and skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery. Ultimately, know your rights and your choices. You have the right to decline interventions that don't align with your birth plan as long as it doesn't pose a risk to you or your baby.


Having an advocate, such as a doula, partner, or trusted friend, is invaluable when you cannot fully advocate for yourself. This is especially important for marginalized demographics where birthing people may face implicit bias or pressure to accept interventions they don't necessarily want. A doula can be a powerful advocate and source of emotional support throughout your childbirth journey.


Finding Hope and Healing in Charlotte

If you've experienced birth trauma, you don't have to go through this alone. Here in Charlotte, NC, resources are available to help you heal and move forward.


  • Mind Body Baby NC: We offer support groups designed explicitly for birthing parents who have experienced birth trauma. These groups provide a safe space to share your story, connect with others who understand your experience, and access emotional support.

  • Birth Trauma Support Group - Meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month virtually. It's a safe space to begin to process your birth trauma.

  • Postpartum Support International Support Groups: 

  • Birth Trauma Support for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Birthing People

  • Birth Trauma Support

  • Therapists specializing in perinatal mental health: Many therapists in Charlotte specialize in supporting individuals struggling with perinatal mental health challenges, including birth trauma.

  • Online Resources: Several online resources offer information, support, and connections for individuals experiencing birth trauma.


Remember, healing is possible.

Acknowledge your experience. Seek support from Mind Body Baby NC or other resources. By prioritizing your well-being, you can move forward and build a strong, loving bond with your child.


During Birth Trauma Awareness Week, let's break the silence and create a space where birthing parents in Charlotte feel empowered, supported, and heard. Share your story if you feel called to do so.


Share this blog post to help raise awareness about birth trauma. You can also visit our website at https://www.mindbodybabync.org/ to learn more about our support groups and other available resources.

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