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Call for national guidelines on discussing past trauma in maternity appointments

National guidelines are needed to help maternity care professionals navigate discussions with pregnant women about past traumas, experts have said.

Their study, published in the journal Plos One, also found that while talking about previously experienced traumas can be valuable, they can also trigger painful memories if not approached sensitively.

The authors also raised concerns about the support available for professionals who may not feel equipped to explore challenging topics such as domestic or sexual abuse, childhood trauma and birth trauma without adequate guidelines or referral pathways.

Joanne Cull, a midwife and PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire’s School of Community Health and Midwifery, who is corresponding author on the study, said: “As awareness of the long-term effects of trauma on health and wellbeing has grown, there has been a move toward asking pregnant women about previous trauma, usually at the first appointment.

“No national guidance on this has been published in the UK so NHS Trusts have implemented this on a piecemeal approach.”

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Source: The Independent, 17 May 2023


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