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What to do if I face past sexual abuse feelings during childbearing?

Recognize and accept that some fears and concerns make sense. Sexual abuse (or any other abuse) rarely leaves the victim free from aftereffects. Give yourself permission to be afraid or concerned.

Try to separate your present pregnancy and upcoming birth and parenthood from your past abuse. Now you are older and more able to bring your wisdom and self-knowledge to these new challenges. Consider working with a trauma therapist or counselor who is knowledgeable about childbearing or reading books for survivors that contain suggestions for dealing with triggers and reducing your concerns.

Decide whether or not to disclose your abuse history, along with issues it has brought up for you, to your care provider. Some caregivers are interested in emotional issues and are both willing and able to respond to your needs, while others may not have the skills needed to help you. If you are comfortable disclosing your history to your midwife or doctor, you can work together to plan your care so that it will be sensitive to your history. If you are uncomfortable with your provider, you may want to change to another person with whom you can establish a trusting relationship.

If possible, have a doula (birth assistant) at your birth, one whom you trust. Share your fears or concerns with her, so that she can help you deal with them. She does not need to know about your abuse history in order to provide emotional support and help.

Write a birth plan that is friendly and flexible yet clearly explains your preferences and fears.

If you have a partner or other support person, enlist his or her support in dealing with this. You may want to tell your support person about specific settings or examinations that make you uncomfortable and work with her or him ahead of time on some ways to help you in these situations.

With good communication, self-help tools, and caring support from your loved ones, doula, and health care providers, your chances of having a rewarding pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience are greatly increased.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY AND THE BIRTH OF YOUR CHILD -- FROM THE EDITORS OF THE CLASSIC "BIBLE OF WOMEN'S HEALTH" Pregnancy and birth are as ordinary...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.