Reproductive Trauma

Definition - What does Reproductive Trauma mean?

Reproductive trauma is a term used to describe the disruption of many aspects of health including physical, emotional and social well-being in a person as a result of an unexpected disturbance to their normal reproductive function.

Individuals or couples who are experiencing infertility are often overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty about their future as parents raising kids, which can affect their overall health. Preparing individuals to overcome reproductive trauma and be optimistic about the future is an important aspect of treating infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Reproductive Trauma

Psychologists describe that it is common for people to have their own reproductive story where they envision how and when they want to start a family and raise children. Sudden changes that can cause an unexpected turn in this unique story, increasing the likelihood of reproductive trauma, may come in the form of physical, emotional, social or financial struggles.

Some of the events that can lead to reproductive trauma include:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Pregnancy-related complications
  • Stillbirth or neonatal death
  • Delivery of a child not in perfect health
  • Postpartum psychological distress (anxiety/depression)
  • Menopause

Reproductive trauma manifests in different ways. Denial and withdrawal from reality is a common mechanism people use to adapt to the adverse event. Some patients experience the trauma as flashbacks and become anxious and irritable. These unhealthy coping strategies do not solve the underlying emotional instability and can lead to long-term psychological problems like depression and relationship issues.

A key step to overcoming reproductive trauma is to understand the reality of the situation and accepting the experience or the feeling as it is. Psychological therapy and counseling are often helpful to process and overcome reproductive trauma.

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