The main goal of DEVOTION CA118211 is to establish a multidisciplinary pan-European Research Network dedicated to minimising birth trauma and optimising birth experiences.
Part of this objective is to focus on the prevalence of birth trauma and work towards universal standards of measuring, assessing and preventing birth trauma.
Unlike other sources of trauma, perinatal or birth-related trauma is relatively unrecognised. Evidence suggests up to 30% of women describe their birth experience as traumatic and experience some symptoms of intrusion, avoidance or hyper-arousal.
Meta-analyses show post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects 4% of women after birth and up to 18% of women in high risk groups. Rectification of this situation is essential.
In 2016, 5.11 million babies were born in Europe. This means that up to 1.5 million mothers may have had sub-optimal birth experiences. Further, this suggests that over 200,000 mothers and up to 200,000 fathers may have developed PTSD as a result of a traumatic birth.
Developmental research has firmly established that the quality of infant-parent relationships is a critical factor in early and later childhood development, consequently, a family-centred approach to any investigation of birth-related trauma is critical, as trauma can be transmitted within the family system.
Given the enormous economic burden it places on women, health systems, and particularly children, relatively small improvements in services to prevent, detect and treat this problem can benefit society significantly.
This COST Action will establish an international multidisciplinary network of researchers, clinicians, NGOs and SMEs to consolidate and disseminate current evidence and coordinate a joint effort to seek ways to prevent, minimise and resolve birth-related trauma, and to optimise emotional and psychological outcomes for parents and families and CA18211 will work to accelerate the translation of that knowledge into best practices that can be shared across Europe to reduce the societal and economic burden arising from birth-related negative/traumatic experiences.
COST Action 18211 Core Team performs the executive functions of the Network.
CA18211 minutes of meetings are published and accessible below.