Birth trauma - Causes, effects, methods to heal:  An EMDR approach


Events at birth are traumatic and create feelings of powerlessness when they are actually or appear life-threatening to self or loved ones, are sudden, change quickly from "normal" to dangerous without explanation, and when the situation appears overwhelming. There is no time to prepare, no way to plan an escape or to prevent something from happening. A number of events during labor or birth such as unplanned interventions, serious problems in the mother, physical damage, a sick infant, and separation from the baby can be classified as traumatic. Major trauma for a woman occurs in childbirth when she has inordinate fear and is in a situation where she has no control. Other aspects of trauma are more subjective and relate to how a woman is treated and how she perceives the experience, often causing humiliation and stigma. Trauma during the prenatal period can affect the parents' perception of the baby, their own self-concept, their relationship, and can impair bonding and attachment. Early trauma can have both immediate and long-range effects on the parents and the infant and may create later in the adult psychological and somatic conditions and a negative self-concept. Equally important is the history the parents bring to this event as well as the quality of their relationship. Birth is a magnet for unresolved issues to emerge. Clinicians will learn about the causes and effects of these early traumas as well as methods, including EMDR to uncover, resolve, and heal them.






Phyllis Klaus

Original Work Citation

Klaus, P. (2005, June). Birth trauma - Causes, effects, methods to heal: An EMDR approach. Presentation at the 6th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Brussels, Belgium



“Birth trauma - Causes, effects, methods to heal:  An EMDR approach,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 8, 2021,

Output Formats