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Birth Trauma Pathway

We are a team of Psychologists and Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT) providing psychological therapy if you are struggling with Perinatal Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to experiencing a difficult or traumatic childbirth.

This includes PTSD to miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of pregnancy and neonatal death.

What is Perinatal PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder, typically caused by stressful or frightening events; in this case, related to a difficult birth. 

PTSD symptoms can take many different forms (physical, emotional, mental health), including:

  • Nightmares, upsetting memories, or flashbacks of your birthing experience
  • Intense emotions such as fear, guilt, powerlessness
  • Hyperarousal symptoms include feeling alert, anxious or on edge
  • Negative thoughts or feelings such as depression or shame, or distrust of others particularly with looking after your baby
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling that you can’t relax or sleep because something bad is going to happen, or you need to constantly check that your baby is safe 

These feelings can appear when you feel triggered by something that reminds you of your experience, such as an item, smell, a memory, and even something on TV.

Treating PTSD

Perinatal PTSD is treatable and we can support you to develop a different relationship with your birth experience and reduce symptoms of PTSD. 

Therapy is a journey and is often filled with ups and downs. Sometimes people can find themselves struggling after sessions. This is completely normal. Our patients have said that it has helped them process their birth experience and move forward with their lives. 

Our booklet explains the treatment and therapy steps, and provides information about coping strategies to help you manage your symptoms.

We offer different treatment pathways, tailored to meet your needs including group and individual therapy.

There are three phases to treatment we offer.

We offer different treatment pathways, tailored to meet your needs including group and individual therapy.

There are three phases to treatment we offer.

Phase 1: Psychoeducation and compassion

This phase may be done individually or in a group.  Groups are made up of people (usually up to 8) whose experience of giving birth was also traumatic or difficult. We also offer one-off information sessions for partners to help them understand how PTSD may be affecting you.


During the first phase of therapy we will help you better understand Perinatal PTSD, and teach you strategies to manage your symptoms.  


We can also help you to learn ways to be more compassionate to yourself, which can help if you struggle with feelings of blame, shame and self-criticism.

Phase 2: Memory reprocessing

This phase involves you meeting for sessions individually with your therapist, to understand your experiences and process your trauma memories in a safe environment.

There are two types of therapy that we may recommend at this step, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Phase 3: Reclaiming your life

You and your therapist will think together about what’s important to you, how to reconnect with your values,  and think about goals you hope to achieve in the future.


You can be referred to our service by your GP or from another Berkshire Healthcare service, such as The Perinatal Mental Health Service or Talking Therapies. 

They can contact our Common Point of Entry (CPE) team

Call 0300 365 2000 (Press option 4)

Email gateway@berkshire.nhs.uk

When we have accepted your referral, we will invite you to opt-in to our service and begin your assessment where we discuss your current difficulties, and what our service is able to offer.

If we think this is the right service for you, you will be placed on to our waiting list for treatment. We may also guide you to other services if we think they can help.

Referral criteria 

We consider referrals for people who have experienced a traumatic birth and are presenting with symptoms indicating PTSD to their birth experience. 

You may be asked to complete a questionnaire to explore your symptoms and how severe they are.

This will help us to know whether our service is right for you. 

Trauma-focused therapy can be intensive and emotionally demanding. For your referral, we will consider whether you have sufficient stability, in terms of:

  • Stable social situation (e.g., housing, finances)
  • No on-going current threat
  • Recent psychiatric admission or contact with crisis services or current signs/ recent history of substance misuse, suicidal ideation, or repeated self-harm

Contact us

Call 0118 904 7111

Email BirthInMind@berkshire.nhs.uk  

We are a team of Psychologists and Cognitive Behavioural (CTB) Therapists, for the Birth Trauma Pathway service. Here are some of our team that you may meet when you come to our service. 

We all work together to provide the best service we can and strive to provide the right care for you.

Visit our team page to see our staff 

People who have used our service have said it has helped them come to terms with their birth experience and move forward with their lives.


"Therapy will be up and down but it will be worth it in the end"


"It's normal and it can happen, it's nothing you yourself have done! It is not your fault"


"You are not an imposter. It is not just military veterans who get PTSD. Your trauma is valid."

We work alongside another service, called Forget-Me-Not.

They offer psychological therapy if you’re experiencing mental health difficulties following a miscarriage or pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, within the last 2 years. This includes termination for medical reasons or unsuccessful fertility treatment.

The provide an open and supportive space for you and your partner during this difficult time in your life.

Visit our Forget-Me-Not service page

Our Neurodiversity Passport can help you communicate your needs to our staff. It covers sensory processing, your communication preferences, and topics that might make you feel anxious and overwhelmed, so that we can support you.   

Read about our neurodiversity passport