Listening to Women After Childbirth  book cover
1st Edition

Listening to Women After Childbirth

ISBN 9780815360353
Published February 20, 2020 by Routledge
146 Pages

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Book Description

It is vital that healthcare practitioners understand the psychological impact of childbirth when caring for women. This accessible guide is designed to improve the care that women receive and, as a result, public health outcomes related to maternal and infant wellbeing.

This book outlines how clinicians can offer practical support to women after birth. It:

  • discusses what we know about how women adapt to motherhood and develop a post-childbirth identity;
  • outlines some of the causes and manifestations of post-traumatic stress following childbirth;
  • provides practical guidance for setting up postnatal pathways for women traumatised by birth and how to communicate effectively;
  • equips practitioners with the knowledge and skills to support pregnant women with a fear of birth;
  • incorporates narratives from women to demonstrate how their births and related events were perceived and processed, before discussing how women’s views can be used to inform future practice;
  • highlights the importance of restorative supervision for healthcare professionals working in this area to promote staff resilience and sustainability.

Drawing together theoretical knowledge, evidence, practical skills and women’s narratives to help clinicians understand the psychology of childbirth and support women, it is of significant value to all healthcare practitioners engaged in maternity services.

Table of Contents

1. Transition to motherhood 2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-Understanding the iceberg 3. Communication Skills: How to listen 4. Birth Afterthoughts-a stepped care model 5. Therapeutic Interventions-the next step 6. Supporting women in their next pregnancy 7. Promoting Staff resilience 8. Using narratives to inform practice

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Alison Brodrick is a consultant midwife at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, UK. Alison has established the Sheffield birth afterthoughts service and an antenatal service for pregnant women who are fearful of birth. She is also involved in service redesign within maternity.

Emma Williamson is a clinical psychologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, UK. Emma currently works therapeutically with women who are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder following childbirth and has previously researched in this area.


"Listening to Women After Childbirth is a must-read for anyone involved in maternity care, particularly those who are involved in providing care during the postpartum period. The book combines powerful narratives from women, theoretical knowledge, evidence and practical skills to increase clinicians understanding of the psychology of childbirth. The book will be fundamental to all maternity workers engaged in the designing and implementing of maternity services for women traumatised by childbirth and for women with a fear of childbirth. The book covers detailed information about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), outlining signs and symptoms, appropriate diagnosis and the importance of effective, evidence-based therapeutic interventions. The authors reiterate the importance of being an empathetic listener when providing care to women in the postpartum period and equip clinicians with effective communication skills to ultimately improve the care women receive…I highly recommend this fantastic book to anyone involved in maternity care. Reading it has significantly increased my understanding and awareness of the psychology of childbirth."The Practising Midwife