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Treatment of PTSD

Treatment of PTSD following a traumatic birth can involve a range of approaches which are effective whether or not the event was recent or occurred a long time ago.

Psychological Treatment

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

This treatment can help you to identify distressing thoughts, painful memories and feelings that you may hold from the birth, and give you tools and strategies to confront and come to terms with what has happened so that you don’t feel as distressed by them.

Treatment also generally involves giving you strategies to help you to relax, and stop the anxious feelings that you may be experiencing, as well as helping you identify and address situations that you may be avoiding.  This can include for example, avoiding intimacy, talking about the birth or delaying a future pregnancy.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

This is a technique used specifically to treat PTSD by getting you to recall distressing images while using an external stimulus, such as eye movement or tapping. As with CBT, this treatment works by helping you to process distressing memories, reduce their lingering effects and allow you to develop effective coping strategies.

Medical treatment

Antidepressant medication, particularly selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are helpful for the treatment of PTSD.  This type of antidepressant can be safely used whilst breast-feeding.

Even if you don’t have depression, antidepressants can help make feelings associated with trauma more manageable.