Warning messageThis content is filtered. APPPAH membership is required for full access to journal articles.
Current estimates of the incidence of childhood sexual abuse range from 12% to 40%, indicating that a significant number of women enter pregnancy, labor and birth with past experiences of trauma. Recent quantitative research results have revealed little significant difference in rates of obstetrical complications and pregnancy outcomes in women reporting histories of childhood sexual abuse and those reporting no history of childhood sexual abuse. Empirical data and anecdotal reports of women's experiences during pregnancy, labor and birth, as well as health practitioners' experiences of providing prenatal and obstetrical care, indicate that a history of childhood sexual abuse can have a psychological and behavioral impact on the woman that may be evidenced throughout the prenatal and birth process. An awareness of the individual needs of survivors of childhood sexual abuse during this critical time has implications for the care provided by prenatal and obstetrical health care practitioners.
KEY WORDS: childhood sexual abuse, pregnancy, labor, childbirth, prenatal care, obstetrical care.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2001). Adult manifestation of childhood sexual abuse. ACOG educational bulletin. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 74, 311-320.
Benedict, M.I., Paine, L.L., Paine, L.A., Brandt, D., & Stallings, R. (1999). The association of childhood sexual abuse with depressive symptoms during pregnancy, and selected pregnancy outcomes. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23(1), 659-670.
Bohn, D.K., & Holz, K.A. (1996). Sequelae of abuse: Health effects of childhood sexual abuse, domestic battering, and rape. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 41(6), 442-456.
Courtois, C.A., & Riley, C.C., (1992). Pregnancy and childbirth as triggers for abuse memories: Implications for care. Birth, 19(4), 222-223.
Finkelhor, D. (1994). Current information on the scope and nature of child sexual abuse. The Future of Children, 4(2), 31-53. Retrieved August 25, 2003, from http:// www.futureofchudren.org/pubs-info2825/pubs-info.htm?doc_id=74215
Grant, L.J. (1992). Effects of childhood sexual abuse: Issues for obstetric caregivers. Birth 19(4), 220-221.
Grimstad, H., & Shei, B., (1999). Pregnancy and delivery for women with a history of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23(1), 81-90.
Kitzinger, J.V. (1992). Counteracting, not reenacting, the violation of women's bodies: The challenge for perinatal caregivers. Birth 19(4), 219-220.
Levine, P., & with Frederick, A. Waking the Tiger. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1997.
Perry, B.D., (1999). Memories of fear: How the brain stores and retrieves physiologic states, feelings, behaviors and thoughts from traumatic events. Child Trauma Academy Materials, 1-23, Retrieved August 16, 2003 from http://www.childtrauma.org/print/print.asp?REF=q/CTAMATERIALS/memories.asp
Rhodes, N., & Hutchinson, S. (1994). Labor experiences of childhood sexual abuse survivors. Birth, 21(4), 213-220.
Scarinci, I.C., McDonald-Haile, J., Bradley, L.A., & Richter, J.E. (1994). Altered pain perception and psychosocial features among women with gastrointestinal disorders and history of abuse: A preliminary model. The American Journal of Medicine, 97, 108-118.
Seng, J.S., Sparbel, K.J.H., Low, K.L., & Killion, C. (2002). Abuse-related posttraumatic stress and desired maternity care practices: Women's perspectives. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, 47(5), 360-370.
Simkin, P. (1992). Overcoming the legacy of childhood sexual abuse: The role of caregivers and childbirth educators. Birth, 19(4), 224-225.
van der Kolk, B. (1994). The body keeps the score: Memory and the evolving psychophysiology of post traumatic stress. David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages, Articles, 1-21, Retrieved August 16, 2003 from http://www.trauma.pages.com/vanderk4.htm.
Ann Diamond Weinstein, M.S. and Thomas R. Verny, M.D., D. Psych., FRCPC
Ann Diamond Weinstein, M.S. is a doctoral student in the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, and the Replications and Resource Development Director of The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc. in Port Washington, New York. She can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas R. Verny, M.D. is on the faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California.