Presentation Information

Justine Leach

Beyond the Birth Plan: Trauma-Informed Childbirth Preparation for Survivors

  • Speaker: Justine Leach , Ph.D., B.C.C.E
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

Survivors of trauma are at an increased risk not only of experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms during their pregnancy, but also birth trauma and postpartum PTSD. Yet too often survivors’ needs are ignored and traditional childbirth preparation is neither trauma-informed nor supportive of survivors’ emotional experiences. This presentation envisions what childbirth preparation looks like from a trauma-informed perspective. It will explore how to create safety in our relationships with birth givers, how to help survivors feel their power, and how to hold space for their emotional journey to parenthood. I discuss the impact of previous trauma on birth givers in pregnancy and birth, and explore what can be done prenatally to prevent birth trauma. Participants will gain practical skills for supporting survivors’ emotional wellbeing and for helping them to plan for a safe birth experience. This involves rethinking the birth plan. Instead of merely articulating a birth givers’ preferences for or against interventions, a birth plan should be rethought as a Birth Support Plan: that is, it should communicate what a birth giver needs to feel safe, understood, and in control of the decisions they make around their care whether their birth goes to plan or not.