Birth Trauma Association Media
Please contact Kim Thomas for all Press Enquiries.
Kim Thomas is a freelance journalist specialising in healthcare, social care and education. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian and Financial Times. In 2013 she published Birth Trauma, a guide aimed at helping women experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder after a difficult birth. A portion of the royalties goes to the Birth Trauma Association. Kim lives in Hertfordshire with her partner and their daughter.
Or telephone: 0777 927 5032 (this is a new contact number as of 27/6/17).
Key Information for Journalists
About the BTA
The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) is a voluntary organisation established in 2004 to support families suffering from Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or birth trauma. It is the only organisation in the UK which deals solely and specifically with this issue. We aim to offer advice and support to all women and their families who are finding it hard to cope with their childbirth experience. We are also dedicated to researching PN PTSD and developing better diagnosis and treatment for sufferers as well as establishing preventative measures.
The BTA have a strong commitment to campaigning for informed choice in childbirth – this must not be confused with campaigning for or against any particular type of birth. We simply believe that it is essential for mothers and fathers to be made fully aware of all the possibilities open to them and that their subsequent informed choice should be treated with respect and compassion by health professionals.
What is Birth Trauma?
In this context Birth Trauma is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that occurs after childbirth. We also include those women who may not meet the clinical criteria for PTSD but who have some of the symptoms of the disorder. This is distinctly different from Post Natal Depression and PTSD is the term for a set of normal reactions to a traumatic, scary or bad experience. Symptoms are debilitating and can have long reaching consequences for sufferers and their families.
The BTA has a very successful website. It currently receives over 10,000 unique visitors every month and this is rising. The site has become an extremely useful tool not only for parents, but also for professionals in a wide range of fields from midwifery to psychology. If you need information on birth trauma quickly this should be your first port of call.
Who suffers from PN PTSD?
Studies indicate that, in the UK, around 20,000 women a year develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, as many as 200,000 more women may feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD.
Sufferers can come from any background however women who have had a history of abuse or previous trauma are at greater risk.
The BTA is committed to working with maternity and mental health practitioners and the NHS to ensure that labouring women receive the information and care they need. In our experience the vast majority of traumatic birth experiences which lead to symptoms of PN PTSD are avoidable or the symptoms are treatable if properly diagnosed.
- It is estimated that, in the UK alone, 20,000 women a year may develop Post-Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PN PTSD).
- As many as 200,000 women may also feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD.
- Approximately 1/3rd of women have some traumatic response to birth.
- There are risk factors for Post Natal PTSD which include a very complicated mix of objective (e.g. the type of delivery) and subjective (e.g. feelings of loss of control) factors. They include:
- Lengthy labour or short and very painful labour
- Poor pain relief
- Feelings of loss of control
- High levels of medical intervention
- Traumatic or emergency deliveries, e.g. emergency caesarean section
- Impersonal treatment or problems with the staff attitudes
- Not being listened to
- Lack of information or explanation
- Lack of privacy and dignity
- Fear for baby's safety
- Baby’s stay in SCBU/NICU
- Poor postnatal care
- Previous trauma (for example, in childhood, with a previous birth or domestic violence)