The Reality of a Traumatic Birth 

A traumatic birth can be incredibly difficult to process, heal and ultimately recover from, both physically and emotionally.  Childbirth is so often depicted as a picturesque fairy tale, with the media portraying very little that resembles reality. If you talk to any parent, and for obvious reasons mothers in particular, TV depiction is often a far cry from the actual experience!

A birth experience that causes extreme stress, injury or emotional toll is more common than many think. It is estimated by PATTCH, Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth, that between 25-35% of women report a traumatic birth experience. In any birth in which the mother or child’s health or life becomes endangered, a spectrum of emotional and physical outcomes are possible.

What Constitutes a Traumatic Birth

Often used as a general descriptor for any difficult birth or birth injury, a traumatic birth is widely defined as any birth in which the mother or the child’s life became endangered. From unforeseen medical conditions to difficulty for either mother or baby during or after the delivery process, these close-to-tragic scenarios cover a plethora of issues.

While injuries or medical mistakes are often easily categorized, birth trauma can be different from one mother to another. A traumatic birth for one individual may not produce the same reaction in a second mother experiencing the same or similar scenario. Traumatic birth can be difficult to predict, given the intense emotional and physical demands that the birthing process already has.

For many, there are a few common denominators to a traumatic birth;

  • Extreme pain
  • Emergency deliveries
  • Un-planned or emergency C Sections
  • Lack of pain relief
  • Long and/or painful labor
  • Feelings of shame or loss of dignity
  • Stillbirth or birth injury
  • Complications like hemorrhaging or tearing
  • Safety concerns
  • Staff concerns

The Dangers of Traumatic Births

In addition to the immediate threat of life to a mother or child during the birthing process, traumatic births have residual impact that must be tended to appropriately.  The impact of a traumatic birth can take an incredible physical and/or emotional toll, and proper care and support is essential for healthy treatment and recovery.

For many that have experienced a traumatic birth, common symptoms include;

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anger and irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social anxiety and avoidance
  • Detachment
  • Nightmares and flashbacks

In extreme cases of traumatic birth, PTSD diagnosis is seen in about 1.5-9% of all reported incidents.

If you or someone you love experienced a complicated and traumatic birth, it is important to seek and/or provide the proper support and assistance to aid in the healing process.  If your medical professional or medical negligence contributed to a traumatic birthing experience, you may contact my offices immediately.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373.


Birth Injuries Medical Malpractice