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PTSD in Mothers Who Went Through a Difficult Childbirth

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

PTSD from childbirth can mar one of the happiest times of a woman’s life. A difficult birth can quickly turn from a headache into a nightmare when medical negligence causes severe or fatal injuries. The psychological impact of a difficult birth can result in the mother developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from childbirth.

Types of Traumatic Birth Injuries

During labor and delivery, complications can sometimes arise. But when complications are caused by malpractice, the devastation of knowing an injury was preventable can be overwhelming.

One of the more severe types of birth injuries is when the fetus has been deprived of oxygen, which can cause severe brain damage.

Circumstances under which oxygen deprivation can occur during labor and delivery include:

  • prolonged delivery (breech position, large-sized baby, weak contractions, birth canal is small);
  • umbilical cord complications (compressed, wrapped around baby’s neck, or cord prolapse, where it drops through cervix before the baby);
  • hemorrhaging (excessive bleeding); and
  • placental abruption (placenta partially or completely tears away from uterus).

Neonatal sepsis is another type of injury that is a serious and life-threatening infection. Neonatal sepsis can develop with a preterm delivery, when the mother develops group B streptococcus during pregnancy, or when the water breaks more than 24 hours prior to giving birth. Complications can include disability or even death.

Shoulder dystocia is another serious injury. The shoulders may get stuck in the birth canal, which can cause injury to the nerves of the hands, arms, or shoulders. In severe cases it can result in permanent paralysis.

These are just some examples of birth injuries that can be life-altering, both for the baby and the mother. As a result, the disturbing events surrounding the birth and then later learning more about the long-term consequences of an injury can significantly impact the mother’s mental health.

Symptoms of PTSD from Childbirth

Memories and thoughts surrounding the birth event may continue to plague the mother. Flashbacks of the chaotic scene in the delivery room, wondering if she could have done anything to prevent the outcome, can become consuming.

Emotions can be significantly impacted, and can lead to a varying range including anger, sorrow, irritability, numbness and fear.

PTSD from childbirth can cause insomnia, the inability to concentrate and impact the ability to maintain relationships with others. It could even affect the bonding between mother and child.

Keep in mind that the symptoms of PTSD differ for each person. Symptoms may be less severe in some women, but debilitating for others.

Treatment could include medication, counseling and various types of therapies. The cost – not just financially but also psychologically – could very well warrant additional compensation in a medical malpractice claim.

For help in understanding the types of damages that may be recoverable in a birth injury case, contact an Elyria, Ohio medical malpractice lawyer at The Becker Law Firm. A medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate the details and determine the viability of a claim for a difficult birth and the subsequent PTSD from childbirth.

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