Women's Experiences of the Coping With Birth Trauma:A Psychoeducational Group Support Program

Roberts, Nicola-Jade, Jomeen, Julie and Thomson, Gillian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 (2021) Women's Experiences of the Coping With Birth Trauma:A Psychoeducational Group Support Program. International Journal of Childbirth, 11 (3). pp. 112-121. ISSN 2156-5287

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1891/IJCBIRTH-D-20-00042


Between 20-50% of women experience birth as traumatic, with negative impacts for women, infants and families. Currently, there is a lack of evidence into supportive interventions to ameliorate women’s adverse responses following a traumatic birth. In North-West UK, a 6-week psychoeducation group support programme (Coping with Birth Trauma (CwBT)) was developed and delivered by two trained therapists. The course aimed to facilitate women’s understanding of trauma, and to provide coping strategies; additional speakers were also invited to discuss specialist issues. The aim of this evaluation was to explore women’s experiences and perceptions of the CwBT, and to identify recommendations for course development. Following University ethics approval, all the women who had attended a CwBT course (n=3) were invited to take part in a telephone interview. Eight women out of a possible sample of 16 agreed to participate. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interview data. Two themes and associated sub-themes describe the social, cognitive and instrumental components of the CwBT course (‘Creating a difference’) and how the course facilitated growth and help-seeking behaviours (‘Growth and renewal’). The final theme ‘complaints and recommendations’ details critical reflections and suggestions for course development. Recommendations included speakers from different therapeutic backgrounds and more opportunities for contact with women at different stages of their trauma journey. Overall, the course was well received with positive implications for health, wellbeing and family functioning. Further and large-scale studies to assess its effectiveness are needed.

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