Support for Perinatal Issues (including traumatic birthing experiences & stillbirth)

by: Dr. Lila Z. Hakim, C.Psych.

The period prior to and during birth can create significant distress for women. Women can experience high degrees of anxiety in the period just prior to the birth of a child, whether or not a low- or high-risk pregnancy is anticipated. Learning how to cope with the distressing thoughts and emotional reactions associated with anxiety may alleviate some of these symptoms. 

During the birthing experience, some women will have frightening experiences (e.g., surgical complications, neglect or ill-treatment during or after delivery, or physical trauma as a result of a difficult delivery). Women experiencing traumatic births may feel isolated and dismissed when sharing their fearful or painful experiences. They can feel hopeless about finding others to connect to regarding what has transpired. These types of experiences can result in post-traumatic stress in the form of recurring images, flashbacks, and painful emotional memories of what transpired during their delivery. These reactions to the event need to be processed fully in order to heal.

Finally, the emotional impact of loss of a child during birth can have a devastating impact on both partners. These effects are further complicated by the post-partum physical status of the woman. Dealing with intense grief associated with the loss of a child is a difficult process for both partners. A partner’s view of him/herself, the relationship, and the future may be altered. The loss can also have an impact on emotional and physical closeness and result in relationship deterioration.

Psychologists and clinicians at CFIR are skilled in addressing the post-traumatic stress associated with painful or difficult birthing experiences. We support individuals and couples in coping with the grief associated with the loss of a child. We assist individuals and couples to deal with tragic loss through education, emotional support, and processing of such traumatic experiences. We help you find a way forward during this difficult time.

Read more about our Fertility Counselling Treatment Service.

Helping You with Prenatal Care

by: Dr. Lila Z. Hakim, C.Psych.

Maintaining physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy and while preparing for birth is important. Numerous medical tests, nutritional issues, home preparations for the newborn, and other life adjustments are required. Couple partners can sometimes become anxious about managing these changes, overwhelmed by the adjustments required, and struggle to work effectively as a team to manage medical, nutritional, and lifestyle alterations associated with pregnancy. There is a multitude of tasks to attend to in preparation for birth and a newborn. For some individuals and couples, this transition can be a significant source of distress.

If pregnancy complications occur, partners can experience intense negative emotions and anxiety. Some partners have difficulties supporting each other as they try to make sense of the available medical information, and strain in the relationship may emerge at this time.

Psychologists and clinicians at CFIR are well-educated about the medical, nutritional, and lifestyle alterations that are typically faced during pregnancy. We support self and partner care throughout pregnancy and work to create a solid relationship between partners during this period.

Read more about our Fertility Counselling Treatment Service.

CFIR OTTAWA is moving to its new home JULY 4TH, 2022. Click here for more details.