Amy Dawes is an effective advocate for bringing women, clinicians and researchers together to support women affected by birth trauma. Through the Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA), she has established an organization focused on the recognition and understanding of birth-related complications. With a multi-disciplinary advisory group of midwives, physiotherapists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, perinatal psychiatrists and clinical researchers, she is working to develop the resources and strategies to prevent and effectively manage birth-related injuries. One of the key goals of the ABTA is to ensure women and clinicians have a common understanding of the risks of childbirth and have the opportunity to minimize these risks and their impact.
In this episode, we discuss the role this association is playing in supporting women with psychological and physical trauma, as well as briefly touch on ABTA’s other goals in advocacy and professional partnership.
What we don’t get into in this episode is the controversy surrounding mitigating the risks of childbirth (ie the use of forceps in delivery) and the psychological impact of diagnoses of levator avulsion. I thought we would save this for another special episode from an obstetric and patient perspective so stay tuned.
Amy’s understanding of the issues has come from her own experience, and the many women she has listened to and helped to find support. With the birth of her first child in 2013, like many women, she did not identify that she had sustained a birth-related injury until she was 16 months postpartum. It was then she was diagnosed with a bilateral levator ani avulsion (pelvic floor muscle torn off the bone) that eventually resulted in prolapse.
As a result, Amy understands first-hand how it feels to have a compromised quality of life and this fuels her desire to help other women. She is passionate about raising awareness of birth trauma by speaking out about her life altering injuries sustained through childbirth. She is also using her journey as a map to assist women who find themselves in a similar situation, and to educate health professionals to better identify those mothers most at risk and enable them to provide the best support available.
Amy’s vision is to break down the stigma attached to pelvic floor dysfunction and empower women to feel comfortable speaking out in order to continue driving change for those women deeply affected by birth trauma.
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