Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma is the emotional response to having an acutely stressful experience. If you have had a past traumatic experience, you may find that your emotional response to this becomes more troublesome during pregnancy or early parenthood. You may also feel that becoming a parent has stirred up memories from your past.

Some parents may feel traumatized by a difficult pregnancy, labour, or delivery and, for some, an underlying or pre-existing PTSD can get worse during the perinatal period as pregnancy and childbirth can be triggering or re-activate previous trauma.

Your trauma could be about anything. Common symptoms of trauma can include:

  • Recurrent nightmares about the difficult experience
  • Feeling physically and emotionally distressed when reminded of the experience
  • Panic and anxiety attacks
  • Feelings of distress and being triggered by images/ smells/ sounds or words related to the experience
  • Having flashbacks to the experience
  • Having unwanted intrusive memories of the experience
  • Actively avoiding of any reminder of the experience
  • Feeling numb as though the experience was not real

For most people, with time and support, our emotions settle after difficult experiences, but if these symptoms are continuing after a few months of the event, or are very intrusive, it may be that you need some support.

PTSD can be effectively treated so talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor and self-refer to for talking therapy using one of the following links:

There are a range of therapies on offer, once you have referred into the service you will be supported by the clinicians to think about the best way forwards for you.