Trauma-Informed Care for Obstetric and Gynecologic Settings

Sarah Nagle-Yang, Jyoti Sachdeva, Lulu X. Zhao, Neeta Shenai, Nicole Shirvani, Linda L.M. Worley, Priya Gopalan, Elizabeth S. Albertini, Meredith Spada, Leena Mittal, Tiffany A. Moore Simas, Nancy Byatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Trauma is common among those seeking Ob-Gyn care and may have pervasive impact on obstetrical and gynecological health, social functioning, and healthcare engagement. While guidelines exist on the detection and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders within Ob-Gyn care, the role of Ob-gyn clinicians in identifying and addressing patients’ traumatic experiences and related symptoms is less clearly delineated. This manuscript provides an overview of trauma-related symptoms in the context of Ob-Gyn care and practical guidance of clinicians aiming to improve their detection and response to trauma in their clinical practice. Description: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) describes a psychiatric illness which develops as a response to a traumatic event. Women who have experienced trauma are also at increased risk for borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric comorbidities. Postpartum PTSD has particular relevance to obstetrical care. Assessment: Screening for trauma in Ob-Gyn care can provide an opportunity to address risk and offer targeted intervention. Several brief evidence-based screening tools are available. Individuals who screen positive require assessment of immediate safety and targeted referrals. Trauma informed care describes an approach to healthcare aimed to enhance physical and emotional safety for patients and clinicians. Conclusion: Given the prevalence and the potentially devastating and enduring impact of trauma and trauma-related symptoms, there is a critical need to address trauma within Ob-Gyn care. By recognizing the signs of trauma and initiating or referring to appropriate treatments, Ob-Gyn clinicians have a unique opportunity to better understand their patients and to improve their care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2362-2369
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • PTSD
  • Screening
  • Trauma
  • Trauma informed care


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