Your history can make a huge impact on your labor and birth. I will talk about two of the main ways.
History of Assault: Firstly is any history of assault, especially sexual can effect your ability to feel safe in a birthing environment, and can even effect your ability to relax your pelvic floor.
You are a survivor, and you may be to the point of healing where you don’t think of your assault and may believe that it doesn’t effect you anymore. And it may not!
There are some cases where women who have gone through assault have experienced longer than average labors. There is no definitive way to know if this is because of their history or not. But it is generally thought that the feeling of not being in control causes stress on their bodies. There is also the possibility that muscle memory, if the sexual assault was penetrating, could make it very difficult to relax the pelvic floor. As the baby moves in the birth canal, or as the care provider checks for dilation, this can cause labors to stall or drag out.
There is no need to fear any this happening to you, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t prepare for it in advance. Using affirmations to address any of the fears, concerns, or traumas surrounding your body or your assault can be helpful. Also discussing this with your doula, birthing team, and preferably also with your care provider as well.
If you are a survivor I highly recommend reading “When Survivor’s Give Birth” By; Penny Simkin
Bad experiences surrounding medical situations: This can be any circumstance where you lost a loved one, almost lost a loved one, or was mistreated in a medical situation, maybe even your own near death experience. Seeing familiar things you associate with that loss or trauma like hospital rooms, needles, etc. can be triggering. Again using birth affirmations can help preempt these fears.
Your history does not have to determine what your birth will be like. Stay informed, be proactive, and choose to focus on what will empower you in your labor and birth. Your history does not have to define your future. And even if when the labor comes and you have a prolonged labor you will overcome that too. Because you are a survivor and that’s what survivors do!