The blog post: “Why Trauma-Informed Care Needs to be Our Standard” from Women’s Health Today tells us that Trauma-informed care needs to be the standard of care for IBCLCs according to Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, RLC, FAPA.
Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a movement gaining momentum in health care. It’s been adopted by national health organizations, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It has not been widely adopted among providers caring for childbearing women, but it’s something we need to seriously consider if we want to increase breastfeeding rates and improve mothers’ mental health.
Just how common is trauma?
Unfortunately, traumatic experiences are remarkably common among women. According to the National Center for PTSD (2015), findings from a large national mental health study show that more than half of women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. The most common trauma for women is sexual assault or child sexual abuse, which affects one in three women. Women are also more likely to be neglected or abused in childhood, to experience domestic violence, or to have a loved one suddenly die. One in every nine of these women will develop PTSD.
A trauma-informed approach
Women who have experienced trauma are also at risk for being retraumatized in medical settings, which is why health care providers must be mindful of their needs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2015) has outlined the principles of trauma-informed care. The trauma-informed care makes sense for every patient, and is especially relevant during the perinatal period, when women are particularly vulnerable.
According to SAMHSA, a trauma-informed approach to care:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery. For perinatal women, trauma increases the risk of depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and PTSD. It may also influence birth outcomes, including preterm delivery and birth-related PTSD.
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system. The perinatal period is a unique opportunity to recognize trauma and its effects. Trauma can be effectively treated, and helping mothers to identify it can be the first step in their healing.
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices. The effects of trauma are pervasive in the populations we serve. Yet, health care providers often do not recognize its existence or the impact it can have on every area of a patient’s life. IBCLCs can counter this by recognizing trauma and instituting policies and practices that follow the principles of trauma-informed care.
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.