Pain, Suffering, & Trauma In Labor

Pain, Suffering, & Trauma In Labor

In this episode of Yoga | Birth | Babies, I had the pleasure of speaking with world renowned author and birth authority, Penny Simkin. We spoke of the important topic of pain versus suffering, how women’s satisfaction and memory of their birth has a direct correspondence to how they perceive being treated during their birth, emotional trauma that can ensue from an unsupported birth experience for the mother and partner and how women can best prepare for birth- especially is she has a history of trauma and abuse or just fear surrounding childbirth. Please enjoy this very rich and moving conversation.

In this episode: 

  • The difference between “pain” and “suffering”
  • Penny’s definition of birth trauma and what can lead to a woman experiencing birth trauma
  • Discussing the connection between the birth experience and  postpartum depression or post traumatic stress disorder.
  • How common post traumatic stress disorder in new mothers
  • Recognizing if a new parent is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as opposed to “the baby blues” or just the common feeling of being overwhelmed by new parenthood
  • The long term impact on the mother and any other findings from Penny’s study, Pain, Suffering, and Trauma in Labor and Prevention of Subsequent Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Birth trauma for the support team, the doula and the partner?
  • Preparing for birth- especially when there is a history of trauma and abuse or just fear surrounding childbirth
  • Tell tale signs a birthing person has crossed over from pain and coping with the labor contractions to suffering during her birth
  • Way the support team can help the new parent if there seems have have been a traumatic birth
  • Suggestions for outside help or nonpharmacological treatments the new parent may consider


About Penny:

Penny Simkin, P.T., is a physical therapist, childbirth educator, doula, and birth counselor. She is nationally recognized as a premier authority on childbirth, having helped over 14,000 expecting women and birth partners in childbirth and attended hundreds of couples though the birth process. Penny is a prolific author and serves on more than ten different consultant and editorial boards, including the journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, The International Childbirth Education Association, and The Seattle Midwifery School, where she also provides training for doulas and lectures for the students. She has written myriad books, journal and magazine articles. She is also co-founder of DONA International (formerly Doulas of North America) and Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth (PATTCh). The Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations is named in her honor. In addition to providing childbirth education, birth counseling, and labor support, Penny travels extensively throughout the country, lecturing and presenting at conferences and workshops

For more information on Penny Simkin, you can find her at


Join us on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, & Podcast Republic where you can subscribe to and download our episodes each week!

No Comments

Post A Comment