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Mother and Baby

"If I told my Health Visitor how I was really feeling they’d take my baby away from me…"

Who Are We?

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) was established in 2004 to support women suffering from Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or birth trauma. We are not trained counsellors or therapists or medical professionals. We are mothers who wish to support other women who have suffered difficult births and we aim to offer advice and support to all women who are finding it hard to cope with their childbirth experience.

The BTA is the only organisation in the UK which deals solely and specifically with this issue. We aim to tackle the problem with work which is focused on three main areas:

(1) Raising awareness of birth trauma
(2) Working to prevent it
(3) Supporting families in need

We have four leading experts on our Board, a Board of Trustees and an Executive Committee of committed activists. In addition, we have many active professional and lay volunteers whose skills range from administration to obstetric and psychological expertise.

The BTA believes that too little is known about the psychology of childbirth and this means that the mental health consequences of it are all too often and, all too easily, ignored. We also believe that, on occasion, the emotional needs of women are sidelined or forgotten. We are very keen to have the support of health care professionals for our work so that we can campaign effectively to change any current practices that contribute to traumatic birth experiences. If you are a health care professional and you would like more information about birth trauma or you would like to help raise awareness of this issue then please contact us.

Executive Commitee

The Executive Committee runs the BTA. It is made up of a core group of committed activists whose duties stretch from support to press and publicity. Without this hard-working body of individuals, supported by our many wonderful volunteers, the BTA would not be able to continue its work. If you would like to become active at this level, please contact us.

Our current committee includes:

  • Julie Orford - CHAIR
    Julie is a part-time freelance graphic designer and is currently studying for a degree in Psychology. She had a traumatic forceps delivery in August 2004 and joined the BTA as a volunteer shortly after that. Julie went on to have two miscarriages, before a very positive subsequent birth in 2009. She is Chair of the BTA, and has responsibility for the BTA website/publications as well as running birth trauma training sessions for health care professionals. Julie has been the Chair of her local MSLC and has worked with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), as a guideline development group member and as a lay member working on quality standards. Julie is also on the committee of the newly formed British Psychological Society- Crisis, Disaster and Trauma section.
  • Maureen Treadwell
    Maureen Treadwell is co-founder of the BTA. She previously worked as a lecturer setting up her own company. Maureen was a member of the Guideline Development Group for the Intrapartum Care guidelines for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Maureen also runs the media team.
  • Lucy Jolin
    Lucy became interested in birth trauma after suffering postnatal depression, bonding problems and PTSD following the birth of her son in 2006. She is particularly committed to breaking the taboos around talking about difficult birth and bonding issues. She is a freelance health journalist and author who has contributed to numerous national magazines, newspapers and websites. Lucy has since had a subsequent positive birth.
  • Lou Silver
    Lou works as a Project Development Officer in Student Support Services at Nottingham Trent University. Her areas of work include mental health, autism, disability and care leavers. She has previously worked for a number of years managing local, regional and national volunteer programmes in the fields of housing advice, money education and refugee awareness. She had a traumatic birth in 2010 following a lengthy induction and emergency c-section, and joined the BTA in 2011 shortly after completing a course of EMDR therapy.
  • Janine Knight - Administrator
    Janine currently works as a doula in SW London, Surrey and Middlesex, specifically working with mothers in the early postnatal period, alongside thoroughly enjoying every moment of being a mother to her own son. Previously she has worked as a PA in the city and in Air Traffic Control on the south coast of England. She trained to be a doula while living in Australia for two years where she gained much experience, met some inspirational people in the world of birth and postnatal period and felt compelled to continue the role of a doula on her return to the UK. Janine also has personal experience of birth trauma following the birth of her son in 2005 and has undergone the processes to better understand, talk about, recognise and own her experience. She is also a member and volunteer of Doula UK as part of their Internal Communications team and has also volunteered for Australian Red Cross in Family Support.


Our trustees are responsible for ensuring the organisation is properly and effectively run. You can find out more about the role of a Trustee from the Charity Commision website.

  • Paul Alway
    Paul is an engineer/project manager in the refrigeration industry and is also a part-time session drummer. Paul agreed to become a BTA trustee after witnessing traumatic events in the delivery room in 2004 at the birth of his son. He wishes to ensure that the good work of the BTA continues to go from strength to strength and helps as many people as possible.
  • Dr Debbie Sayers
    Debbie was a co-founder of the BTA. She is a qualified Solicitor with a PhD and has a particular expertise in human rights law. She has worked on issues of prevention, hospital training, support, website and newsletter development. Debbie has also written many of the BTA publications.

Board of Experts

Our Executive Board includes leading figures in both research and practice relating to birth trauma. We are able to turn to them for professional advice and information on recent developments and we are indebted to them for their invaluable voluntary contributions. Our Board Members are:

  • Helen Allott
    Helen is a consultant obstetrician with a special interest in helping women who have suffered from a traumatic birth experience. She runs a Post Delivery Counselling clinic at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
  • Dr Susan Ayers
    Susan is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at the University of Sussex. Her main interest is the development of post-traumatic stress disorder after health events, particularly childbirth. She has undertaken qualitative and quantitative studies of traumatic birth and published widely on the topic.
  • Judy Crompton
    Judy Crompton is a trained midwife and trauma therapist, specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
  • Sandra Gidley MP, LibDem Spokesperson for Women’s Issues
    Sandra originally qualified as a pharmacist and it was her interest in the Health Service that originally led her to become active in politics. Sandra has been an antenatal teacher and is actively involved with her local constituency hospital. Her parliamentary work includes being co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health.


  • Emeritus Professor Brian Toft OBE - PATRON
    BA (Hons), Dip Comp Sci (Cantab), PhD,

    Educated at the Universities of Lancaster, Exeter and Cambridge Brian Toft is Emeritus Professor of Patient Safety at Coventry University, visiting Professor of Patient Safety at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Chairman of the NPSA External Reference Groups for Safer Neuraxial Devices and holds several senior advisory positions including membership of the World Health Organisation’s European Regional Advisory Council on patient safety and healthcare.

    In 2001 Brian was the first non-physician to chair an external inquiry into the death of a patient in the National Health Service. He was presented with the Royal College of Radiologists Glyn Evans Memorial Lecture Medal for his work on ‘involuntary automaticity’ in 2006 and awarded an OBE for his services to healthcare in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

    Brian has published over 70 papers on the subject of risk management and patient safety. He is the lead author of Learning from Disasters: a management approach published by Palgrave Macmillan, a member of the USA Joint Commission International: International Editorial Advisory Board, the UK Editorial Boards of Risk Management: an International Journal and Emergency Management Review.


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