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In a recent blog, we discussed the reality of PTSD in childbirth and how many women might experience postpartum PTSD, a lesser discussed form of PTSD. If you believe you or another woman in your life may be living with postpartum PTSD, look for these three key symptoms below.

Reliving Trauma

Women are joked about to attempt guilting their children with the details of the moment they were introduced to the world. Mothers carry on about the many hours spent in labor, the pain giving birth caused them, and the exhausting work it took to carry their child and give birth to it. Comparatively, this is a normal and healthy recall of giving birth. If a woman is living with postpartum PTSD, she is experiencing a different kind of recall.

People living with PTSD re-experience their trauma unwillingly. Intrusive thought patterns about a past trauma is a common and strong symptom of PTSD, especially in new mothers. Nightmares, flashbacks, ruminating thoughts, and other forms of intrusive recall are upsetting and have physical consequences. Dreaming about the trauma of childbirth could leave a mother waking up in a cold sweat, having anxiety attacks, or experiencing constrictions in the chest. If there are particular sounds, images, or triggers of her childbirth, she may avoid them in order to avoid recall.

Avoiding Trauma

A woman who has not been traumatically affected by her childbirth experience would have no reason to avoid any stimulus which might force her to recall the moment she brought her child into the world. Instead, they welcome the opportunity to talk about the miraculous moment with a smile and the happiest of memories.

Women who are struggling with postpartum PTSD, on the other hand, will avoid having to recall their childbirth as much as possible. When PTSD is severe, a woman will go out of her way to avoid more than conversation. She may avoid people, places, thoughts, and even her own feelings in order to avoid having to relive that traumatic moment. If she is also struggling with postpartum depression, she may avoid caring for and nurturing her child.


Trauma excites and overloads the nervous system, in particular the sympathetic nervous system which communicates with the brain to regulate the fight or flight survival response. Once trauma has impacted the brain and the body, it changes the way the body perceives threats- real or imagined. For women living with trauma, threats are perceived as real all the time, keeping their nervous system engaged and their brains in a state of preparedness. Hypervigilance is one of the more common PTSD symptoms which may manifest in new mothers. Excited behaviors can include anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, edginess, cognitive difficulty, and more.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues like anxiety. Everyone has a story. If you are living with unmanageable anxiety as a result of trauma it is critical for you to know, you are not alone. Help is available. You can and you will recover. Call us today for information on our custom plans of treatment and our private luxury care: 1-855-483-7800