What can Make a Birth Traumatic?

Kay Barnes
Partner, Medical Negligence Solicitor

The birth of a baby is usually one of life’s most joyful events, but the delivery itself can be one of the most traumatic. This can be for many reasons, such as:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Not having procedures explained to you before they’re carried out
  • A fear of feeling alone and out of control
  • Fearing that you or your baby will die
  • Pain management during the delivery
  • A poor bedside manner from treating clinicians
  • The speed of your labour

We’ll explore each of these in depth, but we should stress that while these are generalised and not specific, you shouldn’t push yourself to read on if discussion of these topics makes you uncomfortable. Please look after yourself and your mental health.

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Medical Emergencies

Births are unpredictable, so it’s inevitable that medical emergencies will sometimes happen. But if an emergency happens and you don’t understand what’s happening, or it’s not correctly explained to you, this may cause trauma, as you may feel you have no control over what’s going on.


Lack of Consent

This can manifest in several different ways, but is most commonly experienced when procedures are not properly explained, or something happens that leaves you feeling treatment was administered, but not with your approval.

If the procedure was painful, or you did not fully understand what was being done at the time, you may feel as though you lost control of the situation.


Speed of Labour

It is usually accepted that a long labour can be extremely traumatic due to the pain, sleep deprivation, and other negative factors that come with long births. But a quick labour can also be traumatic and in the worst cases, lead to injury for the mother or the child. 

Often, things will move so quickly that in those circumstances, you will feel out of control and not understand what stage of labour you are in. And if the labour began at home, there may be trauma and fear that you might not reach the hospital on time.

What can add to this is the general pre-conception that a quick labour is a ‘good’ labour, and that you are ‘lucky’ and the birth itself is a positive experience, when in reality, it can be the exact opposite.

We understand that dealing with the consequences of medical mistakes when you have just delivered your baby, can be hugely distressing, but our friendly and supportive team have lots of experience in this area, and will be happy to discuss how we can help you.

If you have any concerns about the care you received during your birth, please get in touch with our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors.

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