Trauma-informed perinatal care for people who have experienced sexual trauma

Runtime 00:24:41
Released 17/10/22
Emerging Minds Podcast
Emerging Minds Podcast
Trauma-informed perinatal care for people who have experienced sexual trauma

This podcast discusses experiences of working with mothers who have experienced sexual trauma, have been subjected to child sexual abuse or sexual assault. Please be aware of your own emotional safety as you listen to this podcast, and if at any point you find you are struggling, or if you need to seek other help, please call lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or SANE Australia on 1800 187 263.

The National Perinatal Mental Health Guidelines recommend that as part of normal care, all pregnant people be asked questions around psychosocial factors as early as practical in pregnancy and 6–12 weeks after birth. One of the questions within this screening process asks if the person has experienced past physical or sexual abuse. It then recommends that support be offered to people who acknowledge this past trauma.

In this episode, Vicki Mansfield (Social Worker and Practice Development Officer at Emerging Minds) discusses the importance of trauma-informed pregnancy and post-natal care for people who’ve experienced sexual trauma. Vicki draws on her experience working within antenatal clinics, maternity wards and perinatal infant mental health services. She explores how a safe and empathic relationship with pregnant people can support their agency and choices in preparing for birth and promote emotional wellbeing for both parent and infant as they transition through this major life change.



In this episode, you will learn:

  • how past sexual trauma may increase physical and psychological vulnerability during pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenting [05:21]
  • why it is important to explore pregnant people’s feelings and concerns about birth and becoming a parent, and how to establish plans that strengthen their choices, consent and build a safe and collaborative antenatal care team [07:40]
  • how to consider parents’ postnatal needs, including debriefing after birth and being aware of trauma responses that can increase anxiety [09:41]

Further information and resources:

Keeping the infant and toddler in mind online course

Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future online course

Intergenerational mental health online course

Best practice in perinatal care – COPE

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