The Australian Birth Trauma Association
Supporting people experiencing postpartum PTSD through research and awareness building.
One in three Australian women describe their experience giving birth as traumatic, referring to a range of factors including physical birth injuries and psychological symptoms. Although conversations around postnatal depression and anxiety have significantly improved, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one of the psychological impacts of birth-related trauma, remains largely unknown and mis/underdiagnosed despite it occurring in up to 15% of birthing parents in the first six months postpartum. This means that women, birthing people, fathers and partners are still falling through the gaps in healthcare and may not be receiving the best treatment for their needs.
The Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA), the peak charity dedicated to helping prevent, diagnose and treat birth-related trauma, engaged WE to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of birth-related trauma and postpartum PTSD and encourage those affected to seek treatment and support.
WE stepped in to provide pro bono communications support to ABTA as partners in women’s health, identifying Birth Trauma Awareness Week as a key opportunity to reach those affected by postpartum PTSD.
With little awareness and minimal research available in the space of postpartum PTSD, WE first conducted research among birthing patients to understand the true impact of postpartum PSTD and birth-related trauma. The results were staggering, with the research revealing:
- 79% reported experiencing at least one symptom of postpartum PTSD after giving birth
- 1 in 3 reported symptoms of anxiety
- 1 in 5 experienced vivid nightmares and/or flashbacks of the birth
- 22% say they felt overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or shame
- 44% say their relationship has suffered because of birth-related trauma
- 16% are unable to work due to symptoms of birth-related trauma
WE launched this new research during Birth Trauma Awareness Week as the foundation for awareness building. The campaign spanned earned and owned channels, targeting national broadcast, print and online media and driving key audiences to the ABTA website for more information and support. Health professionals and ABTA experts contextualized the data in media interviews and articles.
Recognizing the power of “people like me” to create action, the team also invited parents with a lived experience of birth-related trauma and post-partum PTSD to share their personal stories.
Birth Trauma Awareness Week 2023 was one of the ABTA's most successful campaigns resulting in: