When a mother calls the arrival of her baby "birth rape" we know something drastic needs to change. Trauma-informed care is not the same as trauma-specific treatment. Trauma-informed care is a learned skill set that approaches client care based on a set of principles that guides the professional's understanding, communication, interactions, and care for the client. Trauma specific treatment or interventions, on the other hand, are those evidence-based therapeutic treatment practices that focus on the effects of trauma and seeks to facilitate recovery from trauma. Trauma-informed care recognises the signs of trauma in their clients, the client's supporters, and their community. It understands the impact of trauma on the client's biology, psychological health, and social and relational interactions. Trauma informed care helps to build the client's resilience and well-being while avoiding re-traumatising them. Trauma informed care,
Both individual providers and systems can become trauma-informed. Trauma-informed systems, such as clinics, practices, and hospitals, implement those strategies that ensure their staff are all working from the same compassionate client-centred perspective where the skills of trauma-informed care are the universally applied across the organisation. Not only do clients benefit, but everyone in the organisation benefits from improved clinical accuracy, reduced burnout, increased client satisfaction, and increased wellness in the client and the clinician.
The principles of trauma-informed care are comprised of the following tenets:
While many clinicians and systems assume they are trauma-informed, they lack the evidence based education, training, and skills to effectively interact with their clientele in a way that builds trust, confidence, and resilience-based healing. A trauma-informed approach takes no more time in terms of clinical care than a non-trauma-informed approach. In fact, in the long run, it preserves significant resources as there is greater clinical accuracy, greater client participation in their own healthcare, and reduced professional burnout and its consequences.
A client who perceives their care as disrespectful during the perinatal experience is much less likely to access medical services for herself or her child. She is also much less likely to seek regulated care for a subsequent pregnancy or birth (UNPA, 2004). In fact, the rise of "unassisted" births can be traced to a response to disrespectful care, loss of autonomy, and obstetric violence (Holten & de Miranda, 2016). Unfortunately, the response of many within the medical industry is to "punish" the mother when she does seek medical services for making choices they didn't agree with, further driving her away from medical support for herself and her family (Vedam et al., 2017).
Trauma-informed care providers have the opportunity to meet these clients with understanding and compassion. As they build a trusting relationship with the client, where the client's prior trauma and coping strategies are recognised and accepted, they have the opportunity to participate in halting the epigenetic expression of trauma and changing the course of previous generations.
Birth Trauma Ontario provides scientifically sound education and skills development for healthcare providers and allied professionals who work with birthing families. Physicians, nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, doulas, and allied healthcare providers will benefit with a solid foundation in the elements of trauma-informed care that will transform your practice and halt the global pandemic of birth trauma.
You can review the references for the above information here.
A trauma-informed professional has the unique evidence-based skills to interact with traumatised and at-risk clients in a way that builds trust, changes epigenetics, builds resilience, and invests in the future. Birth Trauma Ontario provides educational workshops for physicians, nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, doulas and allied healthcare professionals to develop the skills of trauma-informed care. Additionally, your clinic may benefit from a targeted workshop on secondary and vicarious trauma to reduce burnout and turnover. Contact us to find out how we can help.