Secondary Traumatic Stress in Midwives

7m of CPD
Compassion fatigue and burnout are common among all healthcare professionals, but midwives, in particular, can experience high levels of secondary traumatic stress. Yet, the emotional cost of caring goes largely unrecognised, leaving many midwives feeling emotionally divorced from their work or wanting to quit the profession altogether.

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What is this article about?

Whilst it’s true to say that any healthcare professional working in any speciality can experience compassion fatigue and burnout, the high degree of empathic identification that characterises the midwife-birthing parent relationship places midwives at a particularly high risk of experiencing secondary traumatic stress.


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Meet the educator

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Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at
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What do others think?

273 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Portrait of Chloe Thornton
Chloe Thornton
12 May 2021
This article resonated and validated the feelings I currently have surrounding the challenges and struggles face working within the profession of midwifery within Australia. Worth a read.
Funmilola Owolabi
26 Apr 2020
Jasmine Blanusa
03 Sep 2020
Really good resource. Put into words what I've had in my thoughts for years.
28 Jun 2020
Very good topic.
Navjot Kaur
25 Dec 2022
Portrait of Claudia Dyksta
Claudia Dyksta
15 Sep 2020
PTSD needs to talked about and acknowledged more the health care system
Portrait of Danni Richardson
Danni Richardson
24 May 2021
Interesting read.
Nichole Nott
26 Jan 2020
I found this article interesting and thought provoking.
Cecilia Heitmann
22 Jan 2020
good read, reinforcing the impact that working in the midwifery profession can have on ones own feelings of self worth and capabilities.
Robyn Cosgrove
12 Jan 2020
This article acknowledges the very real risks of burnout in midwifery.
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