Birth Trauma

Birth trauma occurs when birth has been a frightening, traumatic and a negative experience.


This could be because you feared for your life, your partners life or the baby’s life during birth or because you felt out of control and disempowered or simply because you were treated unkindly.

The symptoms of birth trauma can vary but can include;

  • flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks,

  • guilt, anger, sadness, depression,

  • difficulty bonding with baby,

  • difficulty relating to or being intimate with your partner,

  • avoidance of activities - baby groups, places you might be forced to think about birth

  • Feeling numb and detached from others

  • Difficulty remembering the birth

  • Fear of having more children

These symptoms can ripple out into every aspect of life.

This form of PTSD can effect both mums, dads and birth workers.

Birth Trauma Recovery Sessions

Recovery sessions provide a safe space for a women, birth partner of birth professional to tell their story and to begin the journey of recovery.  Life with a new baby can of course be a life changing event but hopefully a positive one. Lingering trauma from a difficult birth experience can turn this most precious time into a daily struggle, trying to process what happened instead of focusing on the here and now and indeed the future.

The rewind technique is a very effective and well tested technique that neutralises the disturbing feelings associated with birth trauma. The memory of what happened still exists but it no longer provokes anxiety, panic, guilt, anger or sadness allowing the person to move forward with their life.

Lastly hypnosis can help restore feelings of calm and confidence to someone who has been plagued with the anxiety associated with birth trauma.

Usually one or two sessions are enough for people for feel a significant difference and reduction in their symptoms.

Cost & Booking

As a community interest company we aim to make this treatment accessible and affordable to all those who would benefit from it in the Scottish Borders.

For this reason we have reduced fees (and in some cases no fees for those who qualify) as outlined below,

The service includes 2 x sessions. The 1st session is around 90 mins, the 2nd session is 1-2 hrs. Ideally 1-2 weeks apart.


Mum's who are receiving support through the Cherish Project:  Entitled to Free Sessions

Parents on low income (less than £15,000 pa) :

£30 for the initial 2 sessions (£15 per session for any additional sessions required)

Parents on family income over the above threshold:

£80 for the initial 2 sessions (£40 per additional session)

Birth Workers: 

£80 for the initial 2 sessions (£40 per additional session)

(If you feel these fees would be prohibitive to you, please get in touch and we can work something out)

For More Info or to Book

What Causes Birth Trauma?

A birth experience that was frightening to both or either parent and that is usually coupled with a loss of control can lead to birth trauma.

This could be because labour was long or full of intervention or perhaps because of medical problems that unexpectedly occurred. If birth unexpectedly goes wrong it can be traumatic especially if parents feel that the situation or options available weren’t properly explained or if they feel that what was happening was completely out of their control.


A birth where parents have feared for their life or their baby’s can also be a very frightening experience. Similarly if injury or even death has occurred as a result of the experience then this can also lead to birth trauma.

You do not necessarily have to have experienced an event during childbirth (pregnancy or immediately after birth) that you view as sensational or dramatic to experience birth trauma.


Women who suffer from birth trauma normally report the triggers as being factors such as, experiencing a loss of control, feeling a loss of dignity, the hostile or difficult attitudes of people in the vicinity, feelings of not being listened to or considered, and the absence of any discussion about or informed consent sought from medical procedures.

What is bystander birth Trauma?

As PTSD is a disorder that can occur after witnessing a life-threatening event, being present at a traumatic birth can trigger bystander birth trauma. Research into ‘the second victims’ is increasingly demonstrating the long-lasting emotional damage that occurs after witnessing a traumatic birth. Suffers of bystander birth trauma will experience the same characteristic features above. Therefore men and women who witness their partner’s traumatic childbirth experience may also feel traumatised as a result.

If you are a birth worker (doula, midwife, or other health care professional) you might also feel traumatised after supporting or witnessing a traumatic birth. Health care providers are occasionally offered support ‘in-house’ following an event, or are sometimes able to talk to peers. This isn’t always enough and you may be left feeling isolated and experiencing some of the characteristic features above.

Is birth trauma treatable?

Yes it is, you can recover from it.

Nurture the Borders offers Birth Trauma Recovery therapy using the Rewind Technique which is a highly effective technique, recognised by NICE for treating trauma.

This therapy is a brief intervention that seeks relief of PTSD symptoms after 2 or 3 sessions. Occasionally the process needs to be repeated but in the majority of cases people report a significant diminishing or complete eradication of PTSD symptoms.

If talking about the traumatic birth experience makes you feel uncomfortable there is no need the share what happened to you. You will need to remember it yourself but you can do this without re-telling.

This treatment is equally effective 3 months after the event as it is 3 years or even longer after the event. If PTSD symptoms are still evident then the treatment is useful in eliminating them.

Postnatal depression & Ptsd

Birth Trauma is often misdiagnosed as post natal depression and although the two can exist together, they are very different.


Sometimes Postnatal Depression (PND) can follow on from the PTSD, the symptoms co-existing, particularly if the PTSD is untreated. As awareness of postnatal PTSD is generally low, many women are wrongly diagnosed with PND and prescribed medication and treatments that may do very little or nothing to alleviate the symptoms they are suffering from. The two illnesses are distinct and need to be treated separately.

However, it is important to note that depression can go hand in hand with postnatal PTSD. If you have been prescribed anti-depressants, this may well be an appropriate course of action for your particular circumstances. Treating and lifting the PTSD symptoms will allow you to recognise and focus on addressing any remaining symptoms of PND.

© 2016 Nurture the Borders C.I.C

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