Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by a terrifying event where harm occurred or you believe it would occur, this can either be from directly experiencing or witnessing this. Births can lead to PTSD symptoms, particularly where the birth was long and intense, there were unplanned interventions, there were concerns about your baby’s wellbeing, harm or you felt not listened to or cared for. Partners can also develop PTSD from witnessing a traumatic birth, even if everyone is well. Partners can feel distress witnessing stressful events and medical interventions as they feel out of control and fearful for the wellbeing of mum and baby.

Features of PTSD are re-experiencing or remembering the experience as if it were happening again, this causing significant distress, avoiding thinking, talking or being reminded of it, an impact on the way you think about yourself or others and arousal in terms of feeling irritable, easily startled or “hypervigilant”.

Other Common Reactions to Bereavement

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