Childbirth Educators Self-care

by Sophia Dziegielewski, PhD LCSW, and George A. Jacinto, PhD LCSW PLLC

Abstract: Childbirth educators are closely associated with the mother through the birth process. When serious health issues arise or the death of the mother, child, or both, the childbirth educator can become a co-participant in the trauma. The subtle symptoms of shared trauma and compassion fatigue that can eventually lead to burnout can occur without the direct awareness of the childbirth educator. When confronted with shared trauma, the awareness and practice of self-care strategies may provide a buffer for addressing stress and preventing burnout. This article stresses the importance of recognition of identified stressful situations and the resulting feelings beyond the childbirth educator’s control. Once these feelings are identified, taking a proactive stance in the development and monitoring of a self-care plan for childbirth educators is proposed.

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