Emotional Health · Pregnancy

How a difficult birth can affect your mood

Woman with newborn baby right after deliveryAs a Public Health Nurse, I have met many people who have ideas on how they would like the birth of their baby to play out…anything from a natural drug-free birth, a vaginal birth, to a planned c-section.  Yes, it’s okay to have a birth plan, however, all too often these hopes and ideas don’t go as planned.

Premature labour, induction of labour, forceps or vacuum assisted delivery are just some of the many birth events that can cause disappointment and sadness to a new parent during and after childbirth.

While some can move past unplanned birth events fairly easily, others are left with feelings of sadness, fear, loss of control, or even anger.  Our birth experiences can affect how we feel well into the postpartum period.

Those giving birth need to be supported and given the opportunity to discuss their feelings after birth in order to gain clarity, understanding, and a feeling of being understood.

If this does not happen the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety can increase.

Plan Ahead:

  • Discuss your birth ideas and wishes with your healthcare provider and partner, including your concerns and fears
  • Be sure you get to know any other providers that may be involved in your care (i.e. back-up or on call providers) to decrease surprises during delivery
  • Include a plan to share your feelings (good or bad) with a support person after the birth
  • Educate yourself on all of things that ‘might’ happen during the birthing process
  • Be prepared that sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, things may not go according to your plan

You are not alone…there is help.

If you’ve already had your baby and are experiencing sadness, stress, or trauma from the birth, contact your health care provider, therapist, and/or chat with a nurse at Toronto Public Health (416) 338-7600 for support.

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