1. Hayman, Laura L. PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

Seng, J. S., Low, L. K., Sparbel, K. J. H., & Killion, C. (2004).Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46(6), 604-613


Fifteen White, Hispanic, and African-American childbearing women who had abuse-related post-traumatic stress participated in interviews about their experiences in this interesting study. Study participants described intrusive reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and arousal. Psychological sequelae also reported by these women included substance abuse and disordered eating, as well as high-risk behavior, revictimization, and self-harm. Because there are often issues of control, survivors' preferences for care in pregnancy may be demonstrated in a range of desires: some women might want a noninterventionist approach and an unmedicated birth, while others may express a desire for epidural analgesia/anesthesia in order to numb potentially stressful memories returning. An individualistic approach, with shared power between the survivor and caregivers, is essential. In addition to elucidating the perceptions of these survivors, this research also confirms the importance of postpartum debriefing. The act of sharing their stories may in itself become a therapeutic nursing intervention for these women (Gamble & Creedy, 2004). A comprehensive resource for nurses caring for women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse may be useful to nurses in the assessment of women who are survivors of such experiences, and help nurses to facilitate positive birth experiences and promote healing (Hobbins, 2004). Further inquiry is suggested with culturally diverse women, as well as longitudinal studies extending across the childbearing year and beyond to determine long-term outcomes in these vulnerable women.


Comment by Lynn Clark Callister




Gamble, G., & Creedy, D. (2004). Content and processes of postpartum counseling after a distressing birth experience: A review. Birth, 31 (3), 213 - 218. [Context Link]


Hobbins, D. (2004). Survivors of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for perinatal nursing care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33 (4), 485 - 497. [Context Link]