It’s Birth Trauma Awareness Week between 1 – 8 July 2018 and it’s a topic that needs more attention, more conversations, and more understanding and support for those affected.
According to the Birth Trauma Association, around 20,000 women a year are affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the trauma experienced during childbirth and a further 200,000 women may have some of the associated symptoms.
The devastating effects of birth trauma are not limited to mother and baby however. Our specialist team recently successfully won a damages claim for a grandmother who suffered with PTSD following the birth of her granddaughter.
As medical and legal experts in birth injuries and trauma, we understand that medical negligence has far reaching implications and that incidents of PTSD are common.
Awareness campaigns can help women feel less isolated and encourages support networks to be built. When medical negligence occurs in maternity units, and babies suffer avoidable injuries, the psychological effects on mums – and wider family members - can be extremely damaging.
Birth trauma can result following a long or difficult labour or if medical intervention occurs leaving mother and baby significantly physically injured. The mental scars can be as devastating as the physical injuries caused but can often go untreated or are sometimes misdiagnosed as post-natal depression.
Wider family members who are present at a traumatic birth can also be impacted emotionally as they witness the difficult events leaving long-lasting symptoms including anxiety and depression.
We have heard from many women who shared their birth trauma stories with us on our page and also from clients and it’s a sad fact that for many, the experience of birth trauma has resulted in life changing decisions as many choose not to have more children for fear of having a repeated experience.
As maternity services continue to struggle in some parts of the country, these incidents are likely to continue happening in our hospitals. The Government has pledged an increase in midwives while the quality of maternity services is in focus following the recognition from the health secretary earlier this year that more than half of the NHS compensation fund is spent on maternity cases.
Childbirth is a critical and vulnerable time. We are often told by clients who have suffered injuries due to medical negligence that their concerns were simply not heard. It is time for these issues to continue being under the spotlight to prevent further incidents of birth injuries and trauma and to allow for greater support.
Representing families for more than 20 years, we understand the impact of psychological injuries on the lives of those affected. This can range from difficulties in returning to work or reduced work-related responsibilities, to the inability to continue living life as before due to anxiety and other associated issues.
We factor this in when we fight for compensation taking a holistic view of the injuries caused.
If you and your family have suffered significant injuries before, during or after childbirth, we can help. Contact a member of our friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.