Giving birth is an empowering experience and a happy stage of a new life and of family creation. However, studies found that giving birth for women who experienced a sexual assault in the near or distant past can cause a renewed trauma and a more painful and complicated delivery.
Therefore, a team of gynecologists, midwives and social workers in the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot initiated a unique clinic for new mothers, called Li-Lach with a highly skilled team of women to guide the new mother who experienced a sexual assault in the past with a personal program, adapted to her needs before the delivery, during it and following it. The escort by the professional women makes the delivery from a traumatic and complicated experience into an empowering, joyful experience for the mother and her family.
Dr. Neta Mahler (33, married + baby), an OB/GYN in the women’s department, who established the Li-Lach clinic with Dr. Shir Dafna Tkoa (49, married + 3), the manager of the social workers service in the hospital, explains that the objective is to prevent physical and mental complications, to avoid creating a new trauma and to decrease the rate of device-based births and caesarean sections within women who experienced a sexual assault.
Clarifications conducted by the clinic staff amongst brave patients who underwent a sexual assault brought up abnormal behavioral patterns during birth which characterize women who suffered a sexual trauma, such as a more painful birth, vacuum deliveries and caesarean sections. Therefore, the Kaplan Medical Center decided to start a new designated clinic, supported by Prof. Alon Ben Arie, the manager of the women and maternity ward in Kaplan, that includes a personal escort and treatment plan, according to the woman’s situation.
The staff of the Li-Lach clinic is composed of women only: OB/GYN, midwives, social worker. The treatment is holistic. Meaning, the professionals (the caregivers) are active simultaneously, in a synchronized manner, according to a treatment course constructed with the caregivers and the patients together. “In order to decrease the anxieties from the ‘unknown’ we all define how to deal with situations that might develop during the delivery. For instance, women who deter from a vaginal exam can ask for an evaluation by an external ultra sound device. Sometimes, we tour the delivery rooms, the operating room, if a caesarean section is planned, the recovery room and the neonatal unit together”.
And then the delivery arrives. “The patient is requested to inform us when she is heading to the hospital and this way, when she arrives to the delivery room, the staff is ready to meet her. After the delivery, we visit her to determine her condition and have a conversation to process the delivery experience”, Dr. Dafna Tkoa explains. “If a patient feels the need for more emotional and physical therapy during the post-partum period, the clinic keeps escorting her. For instance, our patient who was deterred from breastfeeding due to the contact with the breast, was helped to learn and experience her body in a better, more beneficiary way,” she explains.
“The contribution and the influence that the women’s voice has in areas that were considered masculine, is amazing, and that includes gynecology. Women are about half of the population, we have a different voice, which is important to be heard and to be considered influencing. Our responsibility in the health system is to listen to the covered, silenced voices, and to adapt the therapy and the medical conversation,” Dr. Mahler and Dr. Dafna Tkoa summarize.
New mothers and mothers to be are welcome to call the staff of the new “Li-Lach” clinic any time by phone no. 08-9441231