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Responding to Prenatal Disclosure of Past Sexual Abuse

White, Amina MD, MA

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000266
Contents: Current Commentary

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that physicians elicit a sexual abuse and rape trauma history for every patient, yet, in practice, physicians still may struggle to understand how best to obtain this history and what clinical obligations arise when a physician inquires and a woman discloses a remote history of childhood or adult sexual trauma during the course of her prenatal care. This commentary offers a practical strategy for responding to sexual trauma disclosure by developing a tailored obstetric care plan for avoiding retraumatization in labor. In this way, obstetricians may avoid causing harm and begin to meet the unique obstetric and psychological needs of sexual trauma survivors during pregnancy and delivery.

Applying practice guidelines to screen for a history of childhood sexual abuse warrants a tailored obstetric care plan for avoiding retraumatization in labor.

National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center Department of Bioethics, Bethesda, Maryland.

Corresponding author: Amina White, MD, MA, National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center Department of Bioethics, 10 Center Drive, Building 10, Room 1C118, Bethesda, MD 20892; e-mail: amina.white@nih.gov.

Supported financially by the National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Training Award Program.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views or policies of the National Institutes of Health or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Financial Disclosure The author did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.