Finding Support that is Trauma Informed

If you have/are facing experiences of trauma you may find it difficult to navigate interactions with health and social care providers. It is important for you to ask for, and for health and social care providers to provide, trauma-informed support in all maternal healthcare and community settings.

The following key principles of trauma informed approaches can be asked for by women, and offered by maternal healthcare providers:

Safety and Trustworthiness

  • Tell your health care provider what safety means for you, including options the health/social care team can offer to address your safety concerns.
  • Discuss what the signs of feeling overwhelmed are for you (for example, do you get agitated or do you find yourself freezing or becoming numb); and what you find helpful to re-center (e.g. mindfulness exercises, walking, saying affirmations, breathing exercises, having an Elder present). Ask for help in noticing these signs and using these strategies as necessary.
  • Ensure that your health care provider explains all procedures beforehand and with continuous consent as you go along, so the process is predictable for you.

Choice and Collaboration

  • Ensure that your health/social care provider listens and enlists your ideas of how you can have choice and control to the degree possible, as to your care at each stage of the pregnancy, in the delivery process, when breastfeeding.
  • Ask for options and discuss your choices – about birth plans; breast or bottle feeding; gender of practitioner – so you feel empowered to the degree possible over your maternity care experience.


  • Trauma informed support is intended to repair memories of unsafe, overwhelming experiences. Know that a respectful and positive connection with your provider is important to your care.
  • Know that many women with trauma histories are ambivalent about connecting with their infants; be assured that this is common; and work with your provider to identity how they can best help you with attachment.
  • Notice how the health/social care team models respectful relationships among themselves and with other professionals, as well as with you. This relational and emotionally intelligent approach supports the enactment of trauma-informed care.

Strengths and skill building

  • Know that opportunities to learn and practice self calming skills can be important to your wellness.
  • Connect with community services that offer walking groups, mindfulness practice, yoga, drumming and other wellness-oriented practices to support your wellness, growth, recovery and healing.
  • Connect with local anti-violence services and support groups as needed.
  • Know that you are strong and resilient, that you already possess survival skills, and can develop further skills to support your wellness, growth, recovery and healing.