Research finds midwives suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing traumatic births.
Midwives are left struggling after witnessing trauma such as injury or death, abusive care by family members, or care not undertaken in a sensitive way, reports ABC news.
A recent study of 707 midwives concluded that midwives carry a high psychological burden and PTSD should be acknowledged as an occupational stress, and exposure to incidences reduced.
More than two thirds reported having witnessed a traumatic birth event, that included how a patient was cared for.
The study, published today, also found midwives recalled strong emotions during or shortly after witnessing the traumatic birth event.
A total of 75 per cent of midwives felt horror and 65 per cent felt guilt about what happened to women in a traumatic birth.
Griffith University professor Jenny Gamble said midwives unfortunately often say that they feel powerless to either intervene to change the way care is provided by other healthcare providers.
They also often felt pressured to make a decision by another professional, Professor Gamble said.
“Alternatively they may feel that the mother’s expressed wishes are overridden by organisational requirements of the hospital during the birth,” Professor Gamble said.
“If a midwife feels that she can’t do anything about these situations, then these can produce feelings of stress which can escalate.”
Midwife Teresa Walsh told ABC NEWS while it was a great profession, it could also be quite a sad time.
She said unfortunately institutionalised care and the highly-medicalised care that women received in hospital was not always warranted.
Ms Walsh said that included intervening in births which could complicate the birthing process.
“Women need to be able to develop a relationship with their care provider,” she said.
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