The Biggest Taboo

birth injury birth trauma birth trauma recovery perineal tears prolapse traumatic birth Jul 21, 2022

This week has been Birth Trauma Awareness week in the UK and the theme this year was birth injury.

I am grateful to BTA UK, Australasian BTA and Make Birth Better who have collaborated to publish the results of their survey which echoes what TBR College has heard from parents with birth injuries for years now.

Birth injury (including tears, prolapses but also episiotomy problems, bladder damage, neuralgia, and bone injuries too) is too commonly misdiagnosed, normalised and minimised by HCP.

90% of first time parents will experience a tear according to RCOG figures.

Not all of those parents will have problems healing or experience long term problems with pain, nerve damage or scar tissues (to name a few issues) but many do. The stats for prolapse are much harder to find because it is hugely under reported, under diagnosed and normalised.

When correct diagnosis does happen the pathways are not clear or easy to access. Sadly, this survey found that over 25% respondents had not received any treatment for their injury at the time of the survey.

The impact on the lives of these parents is huge often effecting basic freedoms like being able to go shopping without fearing incontinence. Previous activity and hobbies such as running or simply playing with children are made impossible by some injuries.

The impact on relationships can be devastating with over half of those surveyed reporting that their injury impacted negatively on their relationship with their baby.

84% confirmed that that they were no longer able to be intimate with their partner for a range of understandable reasons such as fear, pain, shame and loss of confidence.

Most upsetting is the number of parents whose mental health was negatively impacted as a result of their birth injury with 85% reporting problems with PTSD, anxiety, loss of self confidence and self esteem and depression.

Birth injury is such a taboo which in itself contributes to much of the shame, ignorance and distress that parents with an injury experience.

When we are able to discuss birth injury, pelvic floor and sexual health openly then we will be able to provide the right, life changing support to parents.

Increasingly more and more professions are having to learn the basics of mental first aid. 

We are, thankfully, becoming more and more emotionally articulate with each generation.

However, this requires learning the skills, techniques and process that support good emotional health and wellbeing.

Supporting Recovery from Birth Injury is just one of the modules covered in the TBR Certificate Course that share those skills, techniques and process.

Not only are these common problems with birth injury a cultural taboo but also accessing appropriate treatment can also be an ongoing, traumatic battle too.

We owe it to women to be properly informed about birth injury before birth, to know the options for treatment and to be able to provide appropriate emotional support.

Too many women suffer in silence for years and even decades because of ignorance, lack of access to appropriate treatment and social taboo.

But there is so much more we can do to support natural recovery after a birth injury. It is natural and easy for women effected by an injury to feel isolated, abandoned and hopeless BUT it does NOT need to be this way. 

Do you have what it takes to be that Practitioner who can support parents struggling with a birth injury?

TBR Certificate in Perinatal Emotional Health & Wellbeing is now open for enrolment.

Could this be the next big thing for your business?

Or could it be the career move that you have been looking for?

The Certificate course starts in September and is an 18 month study consisting of 10 modules.

If you think this could be your next move then book an informal call to discuss whether this course is right for you.