Birth Injuries

What is a Traumatic Birth Experience?

February 17, 2016 by James McHugh, Jr.
Traumatic Birth Experience

While the miracle of birth is often a beautiful process for the families of newborns, it can also be distressing. Between 25 and 34 percent of mothers report having a traumatic birth experience. This is when an individual involved in the birthing process believes that the mother’s life or her baby’s life is in danger or that there is a serious threat to the mother’s or baby’s physical or emotional wellbeing.

Causes of a Traumatic Birth Experience

One of the most common causes of a traumatic birth experience is prolonged labor or failure to progress, which occurs when labor lasts more than 20 hours for first time mothers or 14 hours for second time mothers. This can cause the mother physical pain, but also the emotional pain of worry, stress, and/or fear.

Complications in the baby’s positioning can also lead to a traumatic birth experience. If a baby is in a breech position, or upside down, this can cause great stress to the mother and endanger the life of the baby. While doctors can try to reverse a breech position, it can be more difficult if the baby is too large to fit through the birthing canal. This might result in an emergency caesarian section, heightening a mother’s fear and concern for her child.

Traumatic birth experiences are often reported if the child receives a birth injury. This can occur during forceps and vacuum-assisted deliveries, by physical injuries during childbirth, or any other incident where the baby is harmed due to a medical error. After a difficult delivery, there is nothing more devastating than discovering your child might suffer a lifelong health condition like cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Birth Experience

After a traumatic birth experience, many mothers suffer from an array of symptoms. Commonly, they experience nightmares, flashbacks, angry outbreaks, anxiety, and depression. They can even develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPTSD). This can make it incredibly difficult for a woman if and when she gives birth to additional children.

Lopez McHugh: Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer

A traumatic birth experience is emotionally and physically devastating, particularly if the baby was injured during childbirth. If you or someone you know has had a child who suffered any type of birth injury, contact the Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP to discuss your case and protect your rights.

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