Vicarious birth trauma/PTSD: preparing and protecting student midwives

Alison Power, Jenny Mullan

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was first recognised in war veterans who had experienced extreme violence, including military combat; however it is now understood that it can be caused by a wide range of traumatic experiences such as a serious accident; being abused/raped; being kidnapped; surviving a natural disaster or terrorist attack - in fact any event in which a person fears for their life (Mind, 2017). Traumatic childbirth is also a potential cause of PTSD, not only for the mother but also for those who may witness the birth such as midwives; student midwives; obstetricians and birth partners - a condition termed vicarious birth trauma/PTSD. This article will look at the definition of PTSD and consider the evidence in relation to vicarious birth trauma/Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and midwives/student midwives. It will go on to offer suggestions for personal and organisational management and support strategies, based on research findings and the expert advice of Jenny Mullan (Founder of the certified birth trauma/PTSD resolution practitioner training programme).
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number12
Early online date9 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2017


  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • PTSD
  • vicarious birth trauma
  • student midwives
  • resilience


Dive into the research topics of 'Vicarious birth trauma/PTSD: preparing and protecting student midwives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this