Is there a link between PP and birth ... - Action on Postpar...

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Is there a link between PP and birth trauma?


I felt I'd failed to give birth properly, I pushed for three hours and lost a lot of blood. I was nearly an emergency section but ended up with a forceps delivery.

19 Replies

Hi Catherine, I had an episode of pp after the birth of my first son. I had a show at 18.30, went into hospital at 22.30 arrived being 8cm, had him at 23.47 with a little bit of gas and air. So for me this correlation isn't linked. My perinatal team, said it was one of the most serve and rapid cases they'd seen. I spent time on a mixed ward, followed by 3 months in a MBU. Following this I then suffered with nearly 18 months of clinical depression.

My hubby and I then went onto having twins, I had an amazing care team in place. I remained well my boys are now 7 months old and I am medication free again. x

in reply to Hidden

I know this is possibly too personal a question but why do you think it happened to you?

Thank you. I think it's fantastic that after some awful experiences people go on to have more children. It's wonderful and inspiring to hear -it's one of the really nice things about this website. Previously when I've Googled PP and pregnancy I've been confronted with nothing but negativity and misery.

I developed PP following a very traumatic delivery of my girl in 2009, she was lying back to back, so had days at home with painful contractions. I was unable to sleep so was very sleep deprived, also my mid wife never detected I had pre-eclampsia had severe swelling before due date. I ended up with severe pre-eclampsia had to have a forceps delivery and also had a blood transfusion my blood pressure was dangerously high throughout the delivery too. Miley arrived on a Tuesday and I was sectioned by the Saturday it developed very quickly. Recently had my second daughter who is now 6 weeks old I was induced 3 weeks early which was my own choice they felt it would be better for me to help with the anxiety and worry after the last experience I had, best thing ever it was quick and complication free I have been well and didnt take any medication before or after it was all ready in case,totally different experience second time round.


I think the traumatic birth experience I had contributed (as do others involved). I was at an understaffed hospital and although the pregnancy had been straight forward and labour went fine, my baby was "stuck"- turned out he was back to back. I then had an ambulance transfer to another hospital 20 miles away for forceps which didn't work and ended up with an emergency c-section. That was Fri lunchtime and I was home Sun morning due to staff shortages again. I was exhausted and traumatised so sleep deprivation was a massive thing for me. I started act strangely, had GP appts then a referral to local (non-specialist) psychiatrist. Not sure exactly when but I was sectioned before too long, first into a general ward which was awful and I got worse before another hospital transfer to a better ward and then transition onto their MBU. I spent a total of 3 months in hospital I think and was told it was one of most severed episodes staff had seen. They thought the bad handling of my son's birth, although I am grateful he was delivered safely in the end, was a big factor for me. We're thinking of a 2nd child and I have definite plans for a different experience if at all possible!

I had a traumatic birth with both my children and went on to develop pp on both occasions.

I nearly lost my daughter after she was born,and I lost custody of my son to my ex-husband.

I now have a wonderful partner,and we are getting married this month.

I still have flashbacks and nigthmares daily but I am coping.

There is a life after pp. I am studying psychology with the open university and I hope to go on to help people who are suffering from pp.

My story is very much like louloubexs, I didn't have a traumatic birth at all, I managed to give birth without any pain relief and do class it as one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I did however have problems breastfeeding and was bullied by a midwife which I firmly believe was one of the triggers for my episode.

Wow! And you've only suffered mania. That blows my theory out of the water completely. There must be a common thread somewhere. That must have been some serious bullying!

Catherine, the mania alone was bad enough. I wouldn't wish what I or my family went through on anybody so I can't begin to imagine how horrendous it must be to go through that and then suffer crippling depression.

I'm really sorry, I'm not great at expressing myself clearly. I'm just surprised that severe bullying didn't result in depression. I didn't mean "only" mania to belittle mania. I know how hard it is to deal with the after effects of a manic episode.

in reply to CatherineT

Don't worry CatherineT, we know what you meant :-)

Catherine, I know you werent belittling mania, I hope that didn't come across in my post I was just trying to get across that the mania alone was horrendous and then to be hit by depression must be the complete pits. I do count myself as one of the lucky ones.


Hi CatherineT, To answer your question why do I think it happen to me? I honestly don't know!

For me I truly believe it is purely a chemical imbalance, and some women can't cope with the hormonal changes. A lot of women think that they got PP because they couldn't sleep. Whereas for me that is the first early warning sign, not sleeping for days is because your body is going into over drive, it is start of pp? You can't sleep because the onset of PP is starting?

What does everyone else think? I used to try on blame it on things, like oh I couldn't sleep, to many people were coming over etc. Now I don't I just think I was unlucky. I have grown stronger from it, and it has made me appreciate the little things. xx

LouLoubex, I agree with you, I used to think the lack of sleep caused it but actually now I think the PP was the cause of the lack of sleep. I don't think my situation was helped by feeling like a failure at breast feeding and over analysing everything I did, but part of me doesn't know if this was intensified by the PP and if I had not been ill if I would have got over this quicker. PP was the most horrendous thing to ever happen, but I am a stronger person because of it and I do value the smaller things in life. I have an amazing little boy who has not been affected by a very turbulent start to life, a loving husband and a family that put their lives on hold for me and 2 more much wanted babies on the way.


The sleep chicken / egg of whether it caused pp or pp caused lack of sleep is an interesting one. Perhaps the latter for me? And the breastfeeding thing is another common theme isn't it. I agree so strongly with others on this- the worst experience of my life in many ways but it has made me a stronger person in the end and I value u'd little things in life, with a greater sense of perspective on what's really important and what is really not. On a personal note for me, consultation has just been formalised that the hospital where I first started out and were short staffed is now going to midwife-led only so my experience hopefully wouldn't happen to others going forward.


Hi Ladies,

How are you feeling now hel212000 not long now :) ?

@spannerb I really agree with you in terms of it makes us stronger and def enjoy all the little things. xx

I really wish I could describe how I feel right now, it is a mixture of relief to have made it this far, I am 35 weeks tomorrow and now that even if the babies came now they should be ok, and fear of the unknown. I think it hit me very hard at the weekend that in reality this time in 3-4 weeks I could be ill again. I am hoping that the knowledge we have this time combined with a care plan and medication that I will have a different experience of motherhood. I talked all my worries through with my husband and he is assured me that no matter what we will get through it together like we did last time, but this time he will be watching so carefully that it should never get to the stage it did last time. I really hope so.

I had a long and difficult labor and I also had postpartum psychosis. I did not experience postpartum psychosis until 8 week postpartum. I had completely recovered from my birth experience by the time postpartum psychosis struck so not sure if there is a correlation.

I would say definitely. A v hard labour pushed me into severe episode. Went much better after early epidural the next time.

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