First-time mothers who experienced trauma during childbirth sought for new Irish study 2 weeks ago

First-time mothers who experienced trauma during childbirth sought for new Irish study

A study is seeking first-time mothers who experienced trauma during childbirth.

Researchers from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are looking for mothers of infants aged between one and 13-months-old to take part in a new study around the psychological consequences that can be caused by childbirth.

It is estimated that up to 40 percent of women experience some level of trauma during birth.

This new study hopes to further examine the psychological effects and the maternal health of new postpartum mothers.

Researcher Noelle Sammon said that for some women, childbirth can be a "scary, emergency situation."

"Imagine what it must be like to feel like no one is listening to you, or they are not communicating what is happening to your body and your child," she said.

"This may occur because the focus is on saving lives in an emergency childbirth situation.

“Psychologically, the impact of this more urgent and distressing birth experience can be traumatic and can have far reaching consequences in terms of emotional and psychological wellbeing."

Sammon pointed to examples of a woman having an emergency C-section scar where she was not consulted beforehand, or the loss of control than can sometimes occur in a life-saving situation.

A study carried out by the university in 2017 found that a mother's self identity can be affected by a traumatic birth experience - especially if she expected the birth to go a certain way.

The research pointed to TV programmes such as One Born Every Minute that can often depict childbirth as a "slow paced, calm, and wonderful experience."

Research supervisor Dr Jonathan Egan said that people often underestimate the potential for trauma in childbirth.

"I frequently have women postpartum attending me for treatment with chronic pain, or unprocessed traumatic memories of the birth," he said.

"For some it can result in tokophobia or fear of childbirth and women will avoid having sex in case they might get pregnant again, they keep their thoughts and fears to themselves, so talking about them is the first step to recovery.”

You can participate in the online study by following this link or by emailing n.sammon1@nuigalway.ie.