Up to one in three Australian women have experienced birth trauma and as many as one in ten women emerge from childbirth with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) according to researchers, who said the problem has increased.
Australia’s peak lobby group Maternity Consumer Network blamed the problem on ‘over medicalisation’ in birth.
Director Alecia Staines said what should be considered a sacred time is leaving women from all walks of life with scars.
“All that matters is a healthy baby so it doesn’t matter what happens to the mum – I don’t believe that for one second – but that’s rhetoric women hear” she said.
“Women are coerced, they’re bullied, we hear of women being yelled at, forced into procedures they don’t really want, there is lack of informed consent.”
She said the effects on women are felt across society.
“From not being able to bond with the baby, to marriage breakdowns, women having to give up their jobs because it is so debilitating when they’ve got PTSD, or, or PND, from a combination of things but birth trauma is a contributing factor,” she said.
The Australian Medical Association’s Gino Pecoraro said trauma could mean different things to different people.
“For some people, it may be that they’ve had a fourth-degree tear right into their rectum, but the other people they can feel quite traumatised if their delivery didn’t go the way they planned,” he said.
“It’s hard to say whether it’s increasing or just that people are more likely to talk about their experiences during pregnancy and labour.
“We’ve gotten quite good at keeping mothers and babies alive and safe so now I think it’s becoming more about their experience.”
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