Bec Walters (& family) who was diagnosed with PTSD due to Birth Trauma after both children.
One of our Mum’s (&her family) was approached & interviewed by the Western Mail …achieving a double page spread to promote awareness of Birth Trauma PTSD.
The article reads as follows…
‘Call for more support for mums experiencing traumatic childbirth’
MORE support is needed for women who experience a traumatic childbirth, experts said yesterday.
They also believe midwives, obstetricians and health visitors need to be trained to recognise the symptoms of serious mental illness, including post traumatic stress disorder, in pregnant women and new mothers.
The new maternity strategy also states health boards must develop appropriate services for pregnant woman and new mothers experiencing mental health problems.
Mother-of- two Bec Walters was diagnosed with PTSD following the birth of her children. The 38-year-old, who lives near Swansea, almost died giving birth to Joseph, three and Eva, one.
Bec, who has set up a website to help other women affected by PTSD following childbirth, said: “It makes me sad to think that women who have had one traumatic birth become too scared to go on and have another baby and feel they can no longer live their lives.
“I want to do something productive with my experience – I feel almost like I’m on a mission to educate people and hopefully help other women who have been in my shoes.”
Dr Ian Jones, a reader in perinatal psychology at Cardiff University, said: “We now recognise, which probably wasn’t the case some years ago, that women’s experience of childbirth can be a trigger of a wide range of psychiatric problems, not just PTSD.
“Childbirth was excluded from the original definition of PTSD because it was thought the trigger needed to be something extraordinary and outside the bounds of normal human experience.
“That’s changed now because we do see women whose experience of childbirth is so traumatic to them that they experience very classic and typical PTSD symptoms.”
The all-Wales perinatal mental health group, which is led by consultant midwife Grace Thomas, is currently examining the provision of mental health support for women.
Mrs Thomas, speaking on behalf of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales, said: “We need to be very clear how we can identify women with serious mental health issues and how we train midwives to do that.
“PTSD is a specific condition, which is quite rare and must be diagnosed clinically
“We should be offering women the opportunity to speak in detail about their experiences, if that’s what they want.
Both Dr Jones and Mrs Thomas said the key was women’s interpretation of their experience of childbirth – women may perceive their experience to be traumatic, even if obstetricians believe nothing out of the ordinary occurred.
The Welsh Government’s recently-published maternity strategy states appropriate mental health must be available for those women who require specialist help.
It adds: “Each local area should ensure a care pathway is in place, which should be agreed and implemented by maternity services and mental health services.”
But routinely screening or surveying all pregnant women and mothers for symptoms may not be the answer.
Dr Jones said: “Nice [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] says providing very intensive and structured debriefing interventions for everyone who’s gone through a traumatic experience is not something we should be doing.
“This is not a condition where we should be sending out teams of therapists to see women, but there does need to be education and awareness among those healthcare professionals who come into contact with women during pregnancy and after so they can pick up whether they’re having problems.
“If we get that awareness and get treatment targeted at women who have problems, rather than women in general, then that’s the way to go.”
Credit: by Madeleine Brindley, WalesOnline – Oct 17 2011.