Birth Trauma Awareness and Hope for Change in Australia

Within the 30% of women experiencing birth trauma 70% of those say that it was due to the way they were cared for, or spoken to.

Jerusha profile black and white image

Hello, welcome to another episode of the She Births Show. Today I have a dear friend and fellow doula, Jerusha Sutton, on the podcast.

Jerusha has been a birth worker for 17 years, a birth and postnatal doula in Australia and the UK, and an international award-winning birth photographer and videographer.

Together we are talking about her film, which has won 24 international film festival awards that she made in collaboration with Jo Hunter, Zoe Naylor and Selina Scoble, Birth Time.

We discuss the changes that Birth Time is making both culturally and politically to our conversations about birth experiences and birth trauma. It has sparked a fire that I am happy to say is now blazing.

I’m sure many of you have seen Birth Time and been very moved by it and had multiple questions arise about your own experiences of giving birth in the system and the care you received.

Today we dive into the film’s core message, which revolves around the question; what would it take for all women to come out of their birth not only safe but emotionally well?

On the back of Birth Time a study at Western Sydney University launched, the same place that did the She Births® study. Over 9 months they collected over 8,000 submissions about women’s experiences of giving birth in Australia in the last 5 years.

You might know this as the BESt study. You can stay up to date with the study via a Facebook link.

What was found was heartbreaking but has subsequently changed legal ease already and initiated a NSW parliamentary inquiry.

If you are in NSW, please, I encourage you to submit any traumatic experience you have had to the inquiry.

If you are a birth worker and have ever witnessed anything traumatic in New South Wales, you are also invited to submit before the 11th of August.

Birth trauma is defined as inappropriate, disrespectful or abusive treatment before, during and after birth. We expand on these definitions in our chat.

The BESt study found that 30% of women experience some form of birth trauma in Australia. Shockingly, 1 in 10 women experience obstetric violence.

We go into more detail about what obstetric violence is. Please note it is not specifically referring to an obstetrician but includes all birth workers. And violence is not just actions but words too and what is commonly experienced as coercive language and a lack of informed consent.

Within the 30% of women experiencing birth trauma 70% of those say that it was due to the way they were cared for, or spoken to:

58% of women felt dehumanized.

26% of women felt violated

16% of women felt powerless.

All of these experiences have very significant effects on women, their relationships and of course, partners and babies too.

None of this is okay. So how do we fix it?

Well tune in to discover the most evidence-based solutions. Jerusha and I discuss

  • What is birth trauma & how can we reduce it
  • What is true continuity of care
  • The importance of indigenous birthing on country
  • The healing power of birth in our lineages
  • Jerusha’s best experience while interviewing birthing experts for the film
  • My experience of remembering Leroy’s birth at his 21st birthday party recently









The post Birth Trauma Awareness and Hope for Change in Australia appeared first on shebirths.com.