In the UK, about 30,000 women a year experience postnatal PTSD, but the condition is under-diagnosed, or sometimes misdiagnosed as PND. There are others who feel traumatised by birth, but don’t meet the criteria for a formal PTSD diagnosis.
Women with debilitating symptoms such as flashbacks and hyper-vigilance are often told by friends and family, and sometimes by health professionals, that they need to put the birth behind them or to be grateful for a healthy baby. Yet untreated, PTSD can last for many years.
Fortunately, good postnatal care, the use of a formal screening tool, peer support and trauma-based therapeutic treatments can all play a part in helping women recover.
For many women, having their trauma recognised and acknowledged is also important to the recovery process.
Drawing on women’s own words and experiences, the talk will focus on the most effective methods of supporting mothers with postnatal PTSD.