Make Birth Better
During Birth Trauma Awareness Week 2017
I created a post on Instagram describing the difference between Post Natal Depression and PTSD after birth. After being contacted by a number of women telling me they felt that they had been through a traumatic birth, but had not realised it was possible to be traumatised by a birth experience, I began collecting their birth stories. 75 women sent me their stories and I analysed them, pulling out the key themes. These included the physical impact of birth, the (positive and negative) influence of individuals including professionals and birth partners, the culture of secrecy around birth trauma, the far-reaching impact of trauma and women’s own ideas about how to improve birth.
Through doing the campaign, it seemed clear that some quite minor changes in maternity services could make enormous differences to women's experience of birth (and their partners too). At the same time Dr Rebecca Moore, an experienced perinatal psychiatrist who specialises in birth trauma and organises an annual birth trauma conference, was hoping to create a network of people interested in preventing birth trauma. We joined forces to found the Make Birth Better Network.
We are joined in the Network by people from all over the UK - parents with lived experience of birth trauma, medical professionals including obstetricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, midwives and health visitors, representatives from NHS England, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Maternity Transformation Programme, peer supporters, researchers and organisations such as the Positive Birth Movement, the Birth Trauma Association, Birthrights, the Association of Improvements in Maternity Services and the Association for Infant Mental Health.
Our first step was to create the Make Birth Better website, a platform welcoming all voices to highlight birth trauma and offer information and support to parents, parents-to-be and professionals.
We believe the Network is groundbreaking in bringing together people from such varied backgrounds to work together to create meaningful change in the culture of maternity services: moving away from whether birth is 'natural' or 'medical' and towards birth as a woman and family-centred, collaborative process.