• Welcome to the Australasian Birth Trauma Association

Getting Support

A helping hand

Below are some suggestions for recovery after a traumatic birth.

By talking about your feelings, it may offer give you more insight to why and how things happened. However, some family and friends may tell you it will get better… or this is normal after birth.

If your symptoms persist It may feel more appropriate for you to contact a healthcare professional whom you know and trust for assistance. Consider your local general practitioner (book a longer consultation time), your obstetrician or midwife, or early childhood nurse. You may wish to make notes and take them with you.

These specialists will be able to gauge your level of need and refer you to the appropriate provider*:

  • Counsellor
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Gynaecologist
  • Urogynaecologist
  • *Because there is so much overlap in mental health symptoms it is important to consult the right health professionals. Start with your GP and discuss appropriate referral.

It may also a good idea to have a trusted friend/supporter to accompany you if you are a bit daunted by taking this first step. We feel it’s worth noting that some health practitioners may not have received training in physical birth trauma and If you feel you aren’t getting the support you require from your selected health practitioner, please contact us for advice as we are always happy to help.

If you are feeling confused about your experience in hospital, it may help to try and obtain details of what actually happened.This may provide insight into what interventions were used and why. Whilst this may be painful to relive, you may feel a sense of relief or closure. You could do this by discussing your notes with your midwife or obstetrician. If you wish to access your notes with another health professional, you could contact the hospital liaison officer or The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Find time for you

Be gentle with yourself. Your body has done an amazing thing to give birth so do not feel ashamed if you are struggling to cope. Take it day by day and rest when you can. As difficult as it may be in the early weeks, try to make time for you. Activities as simple as a long soak in an Epsom salt bath, reading a book in the garden, using relaxation techniques can all help.

Try to nourish your body with good whole foods and avoid processed food and sugars as much as you can. Good nutrition will enable a faster healing process whilst maintaining your energy levels (despite lack of sleep!). In addition, if anyone offers help, accept it. Ask for food. Fresh air and sunshine and moderate exercise will improve mood and sleep quality.

We recommend that you speak with your GP about overall health or consult with a nutritionist, naturopath or dietician for specific advice concerning your nutritional needs. It can also be very beneficial to have full blood checks, including thyroid function, carried out before you seek alternative help.

Seeking help and support is vital to your recovery after birth trauma. Often women and their families are so focused on the baby that the emotional wellbeing of the mother takes a lower priority. Some mothers assume things will get better with time; however, recovery from birth trauma is complex and the sooner you seek help the better. Our goal is to enable you to have the confidence to recognise your symptoms and seek the right help to suit your needs. The longer you wait, the more you may increase the stress on yourself and those around you and further delay your recovery.

Your symptoms may be either physical, psychological or both. It is vital to be aware that seeking early intervention through your chosen health care professional will facilitate your recovery and assist your coping mechanisms both at home and at work. There is also a broad choice of useful treatments subsidised by Medicare, ACC (NZ), Private Health cover and other online sources.