After going through a traumatic birth, it is possible that a woman will develop psychological problems. This will normally be exacerbated by any physical complications that have been sustained as a result of the delivery, such as faecal urgency and incontinence.
Types of psychological disorders
There are different types of psychological injury that may be suffered in the period following childbirth. These include the following:
1. Adjustment disorder
An adjustment disorder is defined as a state of subjective distress and emotional disturbance, which typically interferes with an individual’s social functioning and performance. The symptoms arise in the period of adaptation to a significant life change or stressful event.
The stressors may be varied and can include events such as bereavement, separation, migration or any other significant event impacting upon an individual’s integrity. It can also include a woman who has been left with permanent complications after childbirth.
Symptoms of an adjustment order can differ, including features of a change of mood, anxiety or other emotional disturbances. The individual may experience an inability to cope, plan ahead to continue in their present condition.
2. A depressive illness
A depressive illness is one in which an individual suffers symptoms including lowering of their mood, reduced energy, and decrease in their overall activity. Their capacity for enjoyment, interest and concentration is significantly reduced and they may suffer marked tiredness or lethargy even after minimal effort. Their sleep pattern and appetite may also be impacted.
Features such as self-esteem and self-confidence are often reduced and an individual may also suffer from ideas of guilt or worthlessness.
3. An anxiety disorder
An anxiety disorder is defined as one in which the primary symptom is typically tension. Other symptoms include palpitations, muscle tension, poor concentration and panic attacks. The anxiety may vary and may arise in different situations – for example, recalling the history of traumatic events or social circumstances.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder arises as a delayed or protracted response to a stressful situation, typically either threatening or catastrophic in nature. The event or events is likely to cause a distress to anyone. The event in question can include a traumatic childbirth associated with complications.
Compensation for psychological injury
If a woman suffers any of these psychological disorders as a result of medical negligence, it will be reflected in the compensation settlement that is awarded. Most commonly, compensation is awarded to those women who develop complications (physical and/or emotional) due to an unrepaired third/fourth degree tear.
If you believe you could be entitled to claim compensation, please get in touch with us and speak to a solicitor today.