It’s estimated that 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth due to a real or perceived trauma. Unfortunately, this trauma could have been avoided in many cases, and is often caused by negligent hospital staff who are trusted at the time to make decisions in your best interest. Postpartum PTSD can be managed by seeking help from a professional, and you can also look into your options surrounding holding the hospital accountable for their negligent care.
Dealing with hospital negligence
Sometimes, postpartum PTSD can occur due to hospital staff not providing adequate care. This could be not acting on information they have that results in health problems for you or your baby, not carrying out necessary tests, or poor communication that leaves you in the dark about your health or your baby’s. People taking responsibility for their actions can play a part in your recovery, so it’s always worth speaking to a hospital negligence lawyer to see if you have a case. Not only will they be held accountable, but if you win, the money can pay for your therapy sessions and any medication you need, taking another stress away.
What is postpartum PTSD?
PTSD is characterized by intrusive thoughts, images or nightmares of the traumatic event, often accompanied with the feelings you had at the time. Other symptoms include hypervigilance, anxiety, mood swings and feeling angry or numb. This can lead people to self medicate, such as by drinking, and can have a significant impact on the bond between a mother and her baby. Any event can cause PTSD, as what is traumatic for one woman may not be for another, and not everyone goes on to develop PTSD following trauma. Common scenarios that can trigger postpartum PTSD are an unplanned C-section, baby going to the NICU, postpartum hemorrhage, and a prolapsed umbilical cord. Women who have experienced previous trauma are also at a higher risk of developing postpartum PTSD.
Postpartum PTSD can make it very difficult as a mother to bond with your new baby and communicate with your partner. If your baby’s life was at risk during birth, it can feel easier not to bond with them if PTSD causes you to think that you’ll lose them. Talking therapy is usually the most beneficial treatment for PTSD, as it helps you to acknowledge and process what has happened, and work through it in healthy ways. Some medications can be useful too, particularly in the short-term and alongside therapy, but if you’re breastfeeding, you should check that any medication is safe to take. It’s also worth mentioning that postpartum PTSD doesn’t always occur straight after birth. Some women experience symptoms weeks, months or even years after the trauma. This is known as delayed-onset PTSD and can be triggered by other stress in life.
Postpartum PTSD can have a significant impact on your life as a mother, and help should be sought as soon as possible. Fortunately, it is very treatable, and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.