Although identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global health priority, maternal mental health does not receive much attention even in the health systems of developed countries. With pregnancy monitoring protocols placing priority on the physical health of the mother, there is a paucity of literature documenting the traumatising effects of the birth process. To address this knowledge gap, this qualitative descriptive study aimed to investigate women perceptions of living a traumatic childbirth experience and the factors related to it. Qualitative data, collected via semi-structured interviews with 32 participants recruited from parent support groups and social media in Spain, were analyzed through a six-phase inductive thematic analysis. Data analysis revealed five major themes―“Birth Plan Compliance”, “Obstetric Problems”, “Mother-Infant Bond”, “Emotional Wounds” and “Perinatal Experiences”—and 13 subthemes. The majority of responses mentioned feelings of being un/misinformed by healthcare personnel, being disrespected and objectified, lack of support, and various problems during childbirth and postpartum. Fear, loneliness, traumatic stress, and depression were recurrent themes in participants’ responses. As the actions of healthcare personnel can substantially impact a birth experience, the study findings strongly suggest the need for proper policies, procedures, training, and support to minimise negative consequences of childbirth.
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering