Abstract: Birth is life-altering event. Under the best circumstances, it is a happy one. Labor and delivery can be empowering, with mothers feeling that they have accomplished something great. Unfortunately, birth can also be difficult, overwhelming, and for some, traumatic. Without intervention, childbirth-related trauma and PTSD can last for years, coloring how women feel about themselves as mothers, and potentially marring their relationships with partners and babies. Birth trauma and breastfeeding intersect in some key ways. Birth trauma can negatively impact breastfeeding.
One of the important differences between Homo sapiens and the other primates is the condition of pregnancy and birth. Because of the upright walk and the larger brain size of Homo sapiens, the birth channel became too narrow to accommodate birth after a long pregnancy. The evolutionary solution was the shortening of human pregnancy from about 21 months to only nine months. The consequence of this was the so-called “physiological prematurity” of human newborns.