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In this episode of the EBB podcast, Dr. Rebecca Dekker interviews Krysta Dancy. Krysta is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified birth doula. In her practice, many of her female clients came to her with issues around fertility, pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. This is how she started to notice related trauma symptoms in some of her clients and became interested in the impact of birth trauma.

After treating women who experienced traumatic birth for some time, Krysta became more interested in preventative measures as well. She decided to dive deeper into the topic and became a certified birth doula. She is now working as a therapist, a birth doula, and an EBB childbirth class instructor.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or the podast app of your choice.

Different types of birth trauma #

Krysta explains how she has two types of clients with trauma after giving birth. The first group consists of women who experienced an obstetric emergency. For these women, the fear of their own death or that of their child has caused PTSD.

The second group had a normal birth on paper but nevertheless experienced trauma. For these women, their trauma is usually caused by one or more of the following:

  • Feeling like they don’t have a voice during birth because they either feel frozen or silenced.
  • Lack of collaborative care and the feeling that things are happening to them instead of with them.
  • Feeling alone during birth.
  • Feeling stripped of dignity during childbirth.

Treating birth trauma with EMDR #

Krysta explains that the impact of birth trauma is significant but also very treatable. She usually recommends treatment with EMDR (a method commonly used to treat PTSD), but there are other effective treatments as well.

The impact of birth trauma #

Other topics they discuss are:

  • The importance of acknowledging secondary trauma of partners, nurses, doulas, and birth professionals that are traumatized by witnessing someone else experiencing a traumatic birth.
  • How many mental health professionals don’t recognize birth trauma and may misdiagnose their patients.
  • The importance of receiving treatment from someone specialized in trauma treatment.
  • The work of Cheryl Tatano Beck, who has done a lot of research on postpartum depression and childbirth trauma, published in the book Traumatic Childbirth.
  • Transgenerational trauma and transgenerational birth trauma.

Note: If you are looking for an EMDR therapist, you can check EMDRIA. Always ensure that you feel safe and comfortable with the therapist.

Support groups #

Krysta is now teaching birth workers about preventing childbirth trauma. She also hosts very affordable support groups and classes for women who have experienced birth trauma. You can find more information on her website or follow her on Instagram.

Note: If you are looking for a support group, Postpartum Support International also organises free support groups where you can talk to other women who have experienced birth trauma.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not medical advice. See womenswise.com/disclaimer for more information.

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