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Pregnant Women Unprepared for PTSD after Giving Birth

ptsd-birth-injuryWomen in their forties—especially those who have had a previous C-section—have a much higher rate of assisted births, which often lead to injury and trauma.

Childbirth is a major cause of not just post-partum depression, but also of post-traumatic stress disorder. The pain of childbirth can be traumatic for mothers, but PTSD isn’t a side effect typically discussed before or after the birth.

Late last summer in a London hospital, baby Frank McLaren was born semi-conscious, having gotten stuck in the birth canal and pulled out finally with forceps and vacuuming. While Frank has been developing normally, his mother, Leah McLaren, is suffering from PTSD and prolapse of the bladder, which will require corrective surgery.

The Birth Trauma Association estimates that 10,000 women in Britain are treated for post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of birth each year. The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found in 2015 that 24 percent of women still experience pain during sex 18 months after giving birth. Another recent U.S. student, published in the journal PLOS One, found that 77 percent of mothers still suffered from back pain and 49 percent experienced urinary incontinence a year after having their babies.