Pregnancy is a time of big change and often a time we come to reflect on our own childhood, the way we were parented and sometimes we remember the injustices we felt as young children, particularly if abuse occurred.
Pregnancy, therefore, may bring additional challenges if trauma resurfaces.
During pregnancy you will be thinking about how you would like your baby to be born. This is something to discuss with your Midwife. Health providers usually encourage vaginal birth where possible, as this helps the baby’s gut flora develop and the act of being born vaginally helps squeeze fluid out of the baby’s lungs to aid them taking their first breath. You do have a choice though, so make sure to book an appointment with the midwife if you have specific anxieties linked with sexual trauma.
You can choose your own Midwife or a Doula if you prefer. The benefits of having an independent Midwife is that you will be part of the decision making when choosing who is with you when you give birth. The independent Midwives will provide all antenatal, postnatal and labour support. A Doula is not a health care provider but provides emotional and practical support.
The NHS will provide Midwives, but not continuous care. A Perinatal Midwife within the NHS will support specific women who may be more susceptible to challenges with pregnancy and early parenting due to mental health or past trauma.
If you actively make decisions in your pregnancy and birth and make sure you get emotional support this will help to keep you emotionally safe.
Self-care to support yourself healing from past sexual trauma during pregnancy and birth:
- Journalling: https://www.all4maternity.com/maternal-journal-creative-journaling/
- Birth Art: https://birthingfromwithin.com/our-story/
- Counselling: https://yorkandselbyiapt.co.uk/
We can refer on to Counselling through the ISVA service
- Doula: https://doula.org.uk/find-a-doula/