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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Demons in the delivery room | Jerusalem Post

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich , THE JERUSALEM POST

World-famous physical therapist, childbirth educator, doula (labor supporter) and author Penny Simkin was in Israel to share her experiences with over 300 Israeli professionals. She was the sole lecturer at the annual childbirth education lecture organized by Great Shape/YMCA, which specializes in prenatal and postnatal health and fitness, in cooperation with the Israel Childbirth Education Center…

…In the delivery room, if the midwife or obstetrician notices strange behavior, they should ask about a past of sexual abuse. " You can't just ask a yes-or-no question. You should rather say: ' Many women have had unpleasant sexual experiences of being touched or forced into sex or physically abused. Have you ever experienced anything like that?'"

If she "admits" it and "you're in a real rush during the delivery, at least look right at her and say: 'I'm very sorry' or ' No one deserves to be treated that way!' That can bond you during delivery; she knows you are on her side," Simkin advised the childbirth professionals in the audience. If she is only at the beginning of delivery, the professional should tell a victim: 'Let me know how I can help you feel more comfortable." As many victims hate vaginal exams, Simkin continued, "delivery room staffers should "think very hard about whether they really need to do them, as sometimes patients feel that such an exam is like rape."

If a woman can't tolerate invasive procedures such as blood draws, catheters and internal exams but they have to be done, "take it slowly. She might want to talk you through it. One woman I remember counted slowly to 100 or spoke to her partner or friend all the time," Simkin said.

Victims have complained that during birth they felt they were being "ripped apart," said Simkin. "At one of my classes, I showed a film of the baby's head coming out. I always thought it was beautiful. But one woman who was a victim ran out of the room, went into a wall and cracked her head open. I never showed that image again." …

Demons in the delivery room | Jerusalem Post

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