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Birth Planning Consultations for Trauma Survivors

Tiny Hands

Labor and birth can be an amazing, yet vulnerable, experience. Planning for birth can bring up many feelings, including fear, excitement, worry, and uncertainty. When people have been through trauma (e.g. birth trauma, sexual assault, interpersonal violence), giving birth can be especially triggering and can bring back past memories and feelings.


Planning for the possible triggers that might arise during the birth process allows people to feel empowered and calmer heading into a life changing event. A parent who feels empowered during their pregnancy and birth will often bond better with their baby, experience fewer perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and move into parenthood with increased confidence and strength. For someone who is a sexual assault, abuse, or birth trauma survivor, this can be even more important... the ability to feel empowered during pregnancy and birth can help heal deep wounds from their past. This potential for healing is what brings me to my work with pregnant and postpartum abuse and trauma survivors, and I feel honored to assist my clients in such an important way.


The Birth Planning Consultation for Survivors is based on the training provided by Selena Shelley, which is modeled after the work of Penny Simkin, PT and Phyllis Klaus, LMFT, coauthors of the book When Survivors Give Birth. The consultation is designed to help a trauma survivor process and prepare for their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum through reflecting on their past (although there is no need to go into specific detail about previous abuse or trauma) and focusing on what they need to heal moving forward.  During a consultation, I utilize my clinical background as a psychotherapist and my training in trauma and recovery to help make this healing possible.  


As a general guideline we will: discuss the most common perinatal triggers, as outlined in the book When Survivors Give Birth; help you get clarity on which ones are the most triggering/anxiety producing for you; and strategize coping mechanisms that will be beneficial to you during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.  While childbirth can often retrigger previous abuse or trauma, it is amazing how being aware of potential triggers, and learning how to prevent or work with them, can lessen the potential for retriggering and ultimately allow someone to heal old wounds and move into parenthood with a new sense of self.


Survivor consultations can take place in person at Community Well in San Francisco or via telehealth anywhere in California.  A full consultation is usually 2-4 hours total and can be split into multiple sessions.


My rate for each hour of consultation is $210. This includes the 2-4 hours we spend in session and the birth planning notes I will send you following our consultation. I offer a sliding-scale for clients who otherwise would not be able to engage in this important work. Please contact me for additional information or to schedule a consultation.

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