Having a baby can be a wonderful experience for you and your family however this may not be the case for all people experiencing the pregnancy and birth journey.

Weeks, months or even years after the birth of your baby, you may find that you would like more information about what happened during their birth and why certain things were done. Birth reflections is a Professional Midwifery Advocate led listening and debriefing service which provides you with an opportunity to:

  • reflect on your birth experience
  •  explore the care you received during pregnancy, labour, birth or immediately after your baby was born
  •  ask any previously unanswered questions
  • If you are worried you may be suffering from birth trauma

You can refer to this service any time after your baby is born. It does not matter how long ago this was. However, we do recommend that you wait at least a month after giving birth before contacting us, to allow yourself time to settle into parenthood. It is also important that you feel ready to discuss your birth experience with us. This is very individual, and the timing will be different for everyone.

What will happen during a Birth Reflections NHS session?

We will offer you a one-off, one-to-one session with an experienced professional Midwifery Advocate (PMA). The session will last approximately an hour. During the session, the PMA will go through your maternity care record with you, step-by-step, explaining what happened and why. You may also wish to give us feedback during your session, to help us improve our maternity services. You are welcome to bring someone with you for support. This may be your partner, a close family member or a friend. They do not need to have been your birth partner.

Spending time reflecting on the birth of your baby may make you feel very emotional. Although it is important to talk to your Midwife or a PMA about how you are feeling, it is also important that you are aware that the birth reflections service is not a counselling service.

If you feel you would benefit from specialist mental health support / on-going counselling and support, please see the links at the end of this factsheet or ask your midwife, health visitor, GP or PMA for more information.

Northamptonshire has a well-established Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service. This specialist service provides assessment and support for women who are experiencing or at an increased chance of experiencing moderate to severe mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder during pregnancy and up to 12 months after having a baby.

Other support options can be found below

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Who is the birth reflections service for?

Birth reflections NHS is available for you and your birth partner if you have given birth under the care of Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust.

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Birth Trauma

Some women may suffer from birth trauma, for all sorts of different reasons.

It’s not only very complex and difficult births that can cause birth trauma – even births that are considered “textbook” can cause feelings of trauma and anxiety. You might have had a very different birth to the one you’d imagined, and this in itself can feel traumatic.

Whether your birth was long or short, vaginal or caesarean, instrumental in theatre or a home water birth, your feelings about your birth are completely valid. It might be just one aspect of your birth experience that’s playing on your mind and causing you to be unexpectedly thoughtful, or you might feel traumatised by the whole experience.

If you think you might be suffering from birth trauma, there is support available for you.

As part of your postnatal care package, every woman will be offered space to reflect on their pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience with their midwife. For lots of people this will provide the help and support needed but for some people additional support might be helpful.  You can be referred to the Professional Midwifery Advocates who will help you to find the right help.

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Other useful support

Birth reflections is not a counselling service, so you may need support or follow up input from another organisation. Below are links to some that you may find useful:

  • IAPT - Talking Therapies
  • italk - A psychological therapy service
  • Birth Trauma Association UK  - A charity that supports women who suffer birth trauma.
  • PANDAS Foundation UK - The PANDAS Foundation help support and advise any parent and their networks that need support with perinatal mental illness.
  • Anxiety UK - A particularly good resource for coronavirus related anxiety including videos. Also on Twitter #coronanxiety

Support and information for dads and partners

Northampton PMA's

Contact the Maternity Day Unit reception 01604 545435 and ask for a meet the matron appointment.

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