Postpartum depression can occur after giving birth. This depression in women can occur during or after birth and is associated with hormonal changes or trauma associated with a traumatic birth experience. Nearly a third of women develop posttraumatic stress (PTSD) related to a traumatic birth. These negative and traumatic childbirth experiences can lead to fear of pregnancy, fear of childbirth, mother-infant bonding problems, problems with breastfeeding, depression, and poor well-being. EMDR therapy, also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, has been proven to be an effective treatment for women suffering from postpartum depression related to a traumatic birth.
EMDR Therapy Helps Relieve Postpartum Depression
EMDR therapy can help women who are struggling with trauma related to parenthood, mother-infant bonding, sexual trauma, miscarriage, and traumatic birth. EMDR therapy can assist with overcome postpartum depression because trauma therapy gets to the core issues of the trauma. EMDR therapy is the first-line therapy for PTSD and trauma related mental health disorders. It is proving to be highly effective in treating postpartum depression in women who have experienced a traumatic birth experience.
EMDR therapy helps to reduce PTSD symptoms. The symptoms of trauma include:
- Difficulty bonding to your baby
- Sleep disturbances
- Not able to remember parts of a traumatic event
- Avoiding baby, partner, or care provider
- Feeling like ‘WHY can’t I just can’t get over this?’
- Being triggered by others’ births or pregnancies
- Struggling to enjoy parenting
- Low mood, anxiety, hypervigilance
- Finding anniversary dates difficult
- Feeling disconnected to others
- Intense shame, anger, or rage
- Suicidal feelings, thoughts or plans
- Intense worrying
- Fear of an upcoming birth
- Trouble with negative beliefs about yourself: I am in danger, I am a failure, I am helpless, I did something wrong, I am worthless, I am a bad mom/parent/dad/person
EMDR Therapy Reduces PTSD Symptoms
Early intervention with EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) can reduce PTSD symptoms in postpartum women with a traumatic birth experience. Studies have found that women who receive trauma therapy tend to report a reduction in PTSD symptoms. These women move on to have positive experiences associated with mother-infant bonding, breastfeeding, and parenting. The symptoms of depression reduce or disappear after successful treatment.
What To Expect From Postpartum Treatment With EMDR Therapy
If your therapist has deemed you appropriate for EMDR therapy, you will receive 3 or more EMDR sessions between 14-35 days postpartum (recommended) but any time frame is acceptable for symptom relief. Your sessions will be around an hour in length, conducted in an outpatient setting. Your therapist should be conducted by a trained EMDR therapist accredited with EMDRIA International and have at least one year of experience with providing EMDR therapy. Virtual EMDR therapy may be utilized if distance is a barrier to treatment.
The goal of therapy is to reduce the vividness and emotionality of trauma memories. The therapist will ask the client to recall the traumatic memory while simultaneously making eye movements. Your eyes will move in a side-to side motion during this part of therapy. EMDR helps to resolve the negative symptoms, traumatic memories and body sensations that arise due to the traumatic experience.
Is EMDR Therapy Safe?
Yes, EMDR is safe. Your therapist will monitor you for any adverse events that might arise during therapy. The safety of the client is given top priority. EMDR is highly effective for the treatment of postpartum depression and birth trauma.
Finding An EMDR Therapist
Finding the right therapist is key to successful mental health counseling. Not every therapist will be the right fit and it is okay to keep looking for a therapist that is a good fit. Find a trauma informed therapist who specializes in EMDR therapy. You can contact Sobair Mental Health Counseling & EMDR Therapy to get started with a trauma therapist who specializes in this type of treatment.
EMDR is a specialized training that requires a therapist with at least a master’s degree, EMDR training, and ongoing consultation with other EMDR therapists. Make sure the person you are seeing is a licensed therapist who is trained in EMDR.