Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Vingers, Julie Ann

Second Reader

Katrina Wu


Introduction: Vicarious birth trauma can cause serious negative repercussions for perinatal providers worldwide. This methodological review aims to examine the aftermath of experiencing secondary birth trauma among perinatal providers and explores how to overcome trauma and promote healthy adaptive coping mechanisms by looking at the issue through Conti-O’Hare’s theory of the Nurse as a Wounded Healer. Methods: A literature review was conducted using Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, Public/Publisher MEDLINE, ScienceDirect, and Scopus using keywords related to perinatal providers and vicarious birth trauma. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis was utilized to report articles meeting the criteria. Inclusion criteria for article selection were specific to perinatal providers who had attended or witnessed traumatic birth and interventions that addressed negative sequelae from the event. Findings were organized in three categories using the theory of the Nurse as a Wounded Healer and included walking wounded, wounded healer, and interventions. Results: Twenty-five articles were extracted for review that showed secondary birth trauma was experienced worldwide by perinatal providers. The impact of vicarious birth trauma contributed to burnout, compassion fatigue, and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms across disciplines. Few interventions were found; however, coping was most successful when providers felt support from a system level. Discussion: Many aspects factor into PTS experiences after a provider participates in vicarious birth trauma. More interventions need to be investigated to alleviate burnout and exit from the profession.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis