Perinatal Care for Individuals With a History of Sexual Trauma
Many women and individuals assigned female at birth experience sexual assault or abuse in their lives leading to sexual trauma. In this article, we review the effects of sexual trauma and resulting chronic stress on the body and during the perinatal period. Maternal, fetal, and neonatal health implications are discussed. Routine screening for sexual assault and violence can assist with early identification and intervention. A variety of modalities and methods for managing the effects of sexual trauma have been identified, including pharmacologic treatment, psychotherapy, complementary and alternative medicine, and shared decision-making. Further research regarding different treatments is essential to find additional tools to aid clinicians providing care to this vulnerable population. When nurses care for individuals with a history of sexual trauma, incorporating trauma-informed care can help prevent retraumatization and promote a healthy perinatal experience.