For most people, the past year has been a year we would probably like to forget due to the pandemic. Living life but not as we know it, and for those who have been pregnant, who are pregnant and those who have had a baby, it has been a traumatic experience, due to not having their birth partners at antenatal appointments, delivery and following the birth (check with your local hospital of the latest updates of your maternity services). Healthcare professionals will need to investigate how to support women and their families that are going through these experiences now and in the future, which is trauma informed care.
What is trauma and what are its effects?
Trauma can be caused by many things, which include having a history of childhood mistreatment, sexual, physical abuse. Suffering these types of trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a risk of further abuse and suicidal thoughts if left untreated and unresolved. It is not uncommon that healthcare professionals come across women/birth people who had suffered some type of abuse without mentioning it to them. For survivors, sometimes this can manifest itself as being aggressive, disengaged, blaming themselves, being on extreme diets/exercises, having gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers and gynaecological problems i.e. problems with periods.
What does it mean for your pregnancy journey and what to expect?
The woman/birth person who has survived trauma either from historic abuse, or due to the recent pandemic, should expect the right care from healthcare professionals that recognises the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that they play in their care.
- Healthcare professionals should be putting you and your safety first.
- Involving you in decision making from the antenatal period, labour, and postnatal period.
- Having discussions of what is likely to happen throughout your pregnancy journey and beyond. The benefits, the harm and the uncertainties
- Healthcare Professionals should be listening to you and your needs and develop a personalised care plan right for you.
- Giving you choice and different alternatives of care management, maybe offer caseload midwifery.
By Roselyn Bunhu