The stories below are just a few of those we have received
from women. All the women here have very kindly allowed
us to post their experiences on our site because they want
to help other women feel less isolated. They also believe
that by making their stories public, they can help us identify
the types of maternity practices which create traumatic
had a traumatic undiagnosed breech birth with her
first baby. She suffered heavy bleeding and needed
complicated treatment for an episiotomy repair. Her
subsequent baby was born in less than two hours and was
a much happier and healing experience.
searched for years for a resolution of her
PTSD following a planned homebirth that ended in an
emergency section. Here she retells her experience and
what she learned about PTSD and its treatment in the
hope that others will not go through the same heartache.
about the trauma of her first birth which resulted
in a ventouse delivery. Annie was left with a torn
cervix, with massive bloodloss and needed to be stitched
in surgery. Her son weighed in at a huge 10lbs 14ozs.
Annie then goes on to talk about her second birth which
was a much more positive experience.
a traumatic ventouse delivery with her first baby (see
below) but has had another baby since, delivered at
home, which was a very positive experience.
Traumatic Birth - From Clouds to Silver
Linings by Monic Joint
Monic talks about her traumatic first birth and her very positive second
for an epidural but there were not enough midwives,
finally she had a caesarean section without proper
anaesthesia. and was deeply traumatised. Much better
support for a subsequent birth was a much more positive
was initially told she was not in labour by a
midwife and had to have an emergency Caesarean. Her
daughter was immediately taken to SCBU. Helen still
thinks about her daughter's birth a year on.
was cruelly treated by one midwife and did not have her
pain relief needs met. Her labour ended in a much
delayed emergency section which has left her deeply
traumatised. She received poor postnatal support.
had a traumatic first birth after a long labour ending
in a placental abruption, emergency caesarean and
post-partum haemorrhage, she developed PND as a result
of her experience. Her second child was a VBAC and a
much more positive experience.
how her daughter’s birth twelve years ago still
affects her today.
resulted in an emergency caesarean section.
ends up as an emergency caesarean section.
ended in an emergency caesarean section.
her first baby at 19 years old and suffered a placental
abruption. She ended up having an emergency c-section
and received terrible aftercare.
ended in an emergency caesarean section.
the intense pain and fear that Amy suffered during
her long labour which resulted in an emergency section
has left her deeply traumatised.
not listened to by midwives, was in terrible pain,
found gas and air unhelpful and was totally exhausted.
Alison is deeply upset and suffers nightmares about
denied pain relief with no justification. She is now
resulted in a caesarean section and poor postnatal
|Poor communication and unsympathetic
staff left Sonia deeply
traumatised as a result of her caesarean delivery.
wanted to avoid a caesarean but she was treated badly
by a few unsympathetic and overstretched staff who
did not respect her wishes or treat her with respect.
operated on without an effective anaesthetic and the
notes made no reference to the incident. The affect
on her life has been appalling and it has made her
frightened to have another baby.
a caesarean and suffered an internal bleed. She was
treated particularly badly by one midwife.
a terrible experience during her caesarean section
which was carried out without proper analgesia. She
was told she was 'imagining' the pain by a nurse, despite
the anaesthetist saying the analgesia was not
right. She would like to contact women who have been
through similar experiences.
to have an emergency C-section after her baby was found
to be breech, despite being told at 34, 36 and 38 weeks
that her baby's head was engaged. She received appalling
care both during and after delivery and also suffered
a massive hemorrhage 5 weeks after the birth.
rhesus disease during her fifth pregnancy and when
her titre level rose to 67, her baby became very ill.
She received appalling care and was very traumatised
by her experience.
about her 'most wanted baby' and caesarean delivery,
she felt very scared and not listened too. She suffered
terrible guilt afterwards and did not bond with her
baby for 7 months.
wanted a natural birth and was deeply traumatised by
unsympathetic staff who did not understand or listen to
hours of labour resulted in a failed ventouse attempt,
emergency forceps delivery and Charlotte suffered a 3rd
traumatic experience led to her developing
postnatal depression and affected her deeply for many
years after the birth.
haunted by her forceps delivery and episiotomy 15 years
a long labour resulting in an emergency forceps delivery
after her baby's heart rate dropped. She also had a
large episiotomy and a failed epidural.
appalling pain and severe perineal trauma. It has put
her off having more children.
birth experiences affected her for many years and eventually
led to the breakdown of her marriage.
withheld pain relief for no reason and spoken to in
an appalling manner. Mel is also a lesbian and feels
her partner was ignored and not kept informed.
a very long latent phase with very poor pain relief
resulting in a forceps delivery.
how staff shortages led to her having a terrible experience
during the birth of her baby. She feels strongly that
women should not be made to feel guilty when they have
she had lost control of the situation when she had
to have a forceps delivery after a failed ventouse.
Problems with breastfeeding left her devastated.
of traumatic birth has lived with her for many years.
She wasn’t listened to or involved in any of
the decision making about the birth nor was there time
to explain the possible implications of the traumatic
birth on the baby.
didn't receive any pain relief until she was 8cm dilated
due to a staff error, was shouted at for pushing "all
wrong" and left fully dilated for nearly six hours due
to a shortage of doctors to perform a ventouse delivery.
was initially turned away when she arrived at hospital.
Staff were ‘too busy’ to give her pain
relief for an agonising birth. Her baby was poorly
when born but communication and support after the birth
was terrible. By contrast, staff at the Special care
unit were wonderful.
was born by ventouse.
a natural birth but was not listened to and received
appalling care, had a ventouse delivery and suffered
a retained placenta.
was occipito posterior, she had a ventouse delivery
and suffered a breast abscess six weeks after the birth.
ignored by staff and diagnosed with PN Depression following
the birth of her daughter. She is now pregnant again.
forced to have an epidural she didn't want and felt
humiliated by staff, she went on to develop PTSD.
put on a syntocinon drip and had a long labour resulting
in a ventouse delivery. She suffered post traumatic
stress and depression.
slapped during labour by the midwife and has experienced
long term agonising pain and faecal incontinence following
Vicki felt overlooked in a long labour that
ended in a traumatic post partum haemorrhage. Aftercare
and communication was very poor and three years later
Vicki still feels traumatised.
suffered a massive obstetric haemorrhage following the
birth of her son. She feels that she was robbed of the
birth she should have had. Click here to see the update
Charise's story following her debrief.
told she wasn't in labour and was not given proper pain
relief. She had to have an emergency hysterectomy and
both she and her partner are still coming to terms with
what happened to her.
was advised to stay at home for longer than she wanted
to before her daughter was born so was not able to make
the choices about her birth she wanted to. She lost a
lot of blood following the birth and was not kept
informed about what was happening to her, and this still
a difficult birth, suffered a haematoma and poor post
natal care (PDF 50kb).
and had trouble bonding with her daughter.
appalling care both during labour and after. She had
a massive blood loss, torn cervix and uterus and was
catheterised for weeks after giving birth with major
complications that followed.
planned a home birth but ended up having an emergency
C-section. Over 2 weeks later she suffered a PPH with
massive blood loss resulting in a hysterectomy.
previously had an emergency caesarean but after trying
the 2nd time round for a vaginal birth she suffered
a uterine rupture losing 5 units of blood. Sal's
baby was without oxygen for 6 minutes and spent 3
weeks in special care. Update
to Sal's story - Sal talks about her
daughter Emmy who has now been diagnosed with athetoid
ended up in SCBU after her induction and emergency
caesarean. She explains how she has come to terms with
was born early. She had problems with the removal of
diabetic and the traumatic birth of her first child
made her insist on a subsequent caesarean. She believes
that staff need to be more sympathetic and understanding.
symphysis pubis dysfunction and her baby was admitted
to SCBU. This story is a letter of complaint and the
birth to her daughter at 27 weeks. She was not listened
to and told by staff that she 'wasn't in labour' even
though she was.
was born as the result of an induction. Karen was not
listened to and her baby's speedy delivery resulted
in an entirely avoidable injury.
into labour at 27 weeks and her baby spent 9 weeks
in SCBU. Briony was left very traumatised by events
which included having her cervix stitched.
weighed 11lb 12½oz and had to spend 3 very traumatic
weeks in SCBU after failing to breathe for 8 minutes
expecting a very large baby and the birth was very
traumatic resulting in the baby suffering shoulder
had a normal pregnancy, but tore badly during labour
and thought she was going to die. Two years on, she is
still coming to terms with what happened to her.'
Sally was diagnosed with severe postnatal
depression and anxiety after her
second child was born but the root cause was post
traumatic stress following her first birth. It was a
normal, uncomplicated delivery, but the poor
communication and lack of reassurance from the midwives
led her to believe that she and her daughter were going
Group Strep B and was induced. She suffered appalling
care and her requests for pain relief were ignored
in labour for 5 days and suffered so badly with PTSD
that she tried to kill herself and her baby.
pregnant again and terrified. In previous labours,
she was left in terrible pain and the trauma affected
her relationship with her partner.
many obstetric complications but her treatment left
her feeling degraded and her postnatal care was appalling.
She is worried about future pregnancies.
treatment during an operative delivery and poor aftercare
left her deeply traumatised.
terrible psychological problems following a traumatic
birth which began with an early induction. She suffered
lack of continuity of care, privacy, unendurable pain
and worst of all a general lack of kindness and understanding
from the overstretched staff.
hours of agonising labour before she got the pain relief
she requsted. She finally had a caesarean section and
felt very depressed after the birth. She tried to talk
to the Health Visitor about how depressed she felt
and was told not to talk about it to her or she would
have to recommend the baby was taken into care.
a traumatic experience as a result of very poor communication.
Her story illustrates that birth related PTSD can occur
even when there has not been an emergency or prolonged
or difficult labour.