Survivor Mom’s Companion: A Population-Level Program for Pregnant Women Who Are Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment: The Need for a Public Health Approach to Addressing Unresolved Maternal Trauma

  • Michelle SperlichEmail author
  • Julia Seng
Part of the Integrating Psychiatry and Primary Care book series (IPPC)


Childhood maltreatment trauma is a key determinant in intergenerational patterns of maltreatment and psychiatric vulnerability in the U.S. and globally. These cycles of maltreatment and vulnerability intersect during the childbearing year, when unresolved maternal trauma from maltreatment adversely affects a woman’s perinatal mental health and offspring development. We can recognize unresolved maternal trauma in the form of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptomatology, and its complex forms or comorbidities. The childbearing year presents unique clinical realities in addressing the traumatic-stress related mental health needs of women, principally among them is the lack of available trauma-informed and PTSD-specific interventions. Consequently, we must develop and implement approaches that circumvent barriers to access and address these clinical realities. Ideal characteristics of such approaches for expanding mental health service delivery have been defined and include reach, scalability, and affordability. Approaches that have the promise of addressing the needs of survivors of childhood maltreatment and sexual trauma will also need to be positioned in trauma-informed environments, and be trauma-specific in nature. One targeted approach that is trauma-specific and which has the characteristics of being a promising novel approach to delivering perinatal mental health care is the Survivor Moms’ Companion (SMC). The SMC is a fully manualized, self-study, and structured-listening psychoeducational program for women who are survivors of childhood maltreatment and who are pregnant (“survivor moms”). The goal of the SMC program is to improve women’s obstetric, postpartum, and early parenting experiences, and enhance psychological functioning.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity at Buffalo/State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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