Subsequent childbirth after previous traumatic birth experience: Women's choices and evaluations

Annaleena Holopainen*, Claire Stramrood, Mariëlle G. Van Pampus, Martine Hollander, Carlo Schuengel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background After a traumatic childbirth experience, women are often afraid of future pregnancies, and may be at risk for also experiencing their subsequent childbirth as traumatic. Aims Two questions were investigated regarding women's experience of their subsequent childbirth after a previous traumatic birth: (1) which factors in the previous traumatic birth are associated with the subsequent childbirth experience, and (2) fear of childbirth and coping behaviour during the subsequent pregnancy associated with the subsequent birth experience. Methods A total 474 Dutch women (mean age during traumatic childbirth=28.9 years; SD=3.9) answered an online survey about their previous traumatic and subsequent birth experience. Findings Making a birth plan, choosing a home birth in a high-risk pregnancy, and having a planned caesarean section emerged as statistically significant correlates of positive subsequent birth experience. Conclusion Experiencing control over the subsequent birth might underlie practices associated with more positive subsequent childbirth experience among women with a traumatic childbirth history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number8
Early online date7 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Antenatal care
  • Childbirth experience
  • Coping
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological trauma
  • Subsequent birth


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