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Survivor Services helps victims of trauma through labor and delivery

Giving birth is supposed to bring indescribable joy. But for past victims of abuse, the labor and delivery experience can be traumatic. Mission Hospital's Survivor Services want to find out patients' triggers for anxiety. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Giving birth is supposed to bring indescribable joy. But for past victims of abuse, the labor and delivery experience can be traumatic.

Mission Hospital's Survivor Services want to find out patients' triggers for anxiety.

"Typically our clients do identify themselves as having some kind of trauma," explained Christine Conrad, an RN and coordinator of Survivor Services at Mission. "Sometimes that is childhood sexual abuse; sometimes that's coming out of an abusive relationship with a partner; sometimes it's past medical trauma."

"It's a pleasant surprise to be in a situation that was as comfortable as it was," said 33-year-old Elisa Jacobs-Thompson of the birthing experience. "I don't know if it mitigates any of what I experienced. It felt positive and that's not something I've ever used to describe a hospital experience."

Jacobs-Thompson had a cesarean section and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Loren, seven months ago.

She says support from her husband -- and changing attitudes about abuse -- have helped her come to terms with her past and move forward.

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