chapter  3
The impact of traumatic childbirth on health through the undermining of breastfeeding
Pages 26

WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES during childbirth may rangethrough a spectrum from challenging yet empowering to overwhelming and traumatic. Childbirth trauma is largely still an invisible issue. However, a growing literature base now documents women’s possible psychological traumatization during birth (Bailham and Joseph, 2003; Declerq et al., 2008; Olde et al., 2006). As we understand more about the connection between birth and psychological trauma, we have also begun to recognize that these traumatic experiences can influence the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding (Kroeger and Smith, 2004; Righard and Alade, 1990; Shealy et al., 2005). This link is important because there are numerous maternal and infant health risks associated with the use of artificial substitutes for human milk in the first six months of life.