Giving Compass' Take:

• The Conversation discusses how childhood trauma can affect the mental and physical health of pregnant women — and how emotional support can counteract those adverse effects.

• Funders should consider trauma-informed approaches not just to maternity health, but to a wide range of problems while considering ways to break the cycles of child abuse.

• Read about the role racism plays in the health of black mothers.

In a recent piece on the television show 60 Minutes, Oprah Winfrey discussed childhood trauma — shining a public spotlight on the lasting effects of abuse and adversity in childhood. Oprah herself is a survivor of childhood abuse.

Adverse childhood experiences, commonly called ACEs, include witnessing verbal or physical conflict between parents and having a parent with a mental illness or substance-abuse issue. They also include parent separation, divorce and incarceration and the experience of neglect or abuse (sexual, physical or emotional) as a child.

ACEs are common. Approximately 60 percent of the general population report experiencing at least one before the age of 18. More than eight percent of the population report experiencing four or more ACEs.

Research has consistently found that the more adverse childhood experiences a person has, the greater their risk for later health problems.

Our research group investigates how ACEs affect women’s physical and psychological health in pregnancy. We study how adversities are “inherited” or passed from parent to child, as well as how the risks of ACEs in pregnant women can be reduced.

Our latest finding suggests that when mothers who have experienced ACEs feel supported by the people around them, their risk of having pregnancy complications is substantially reduced. In essence, feeling supported by friends and family can counteract the negative effects of having ACEs.

Read the full article about how compassion can help pregnant women who suffered childhood trauma by Sheri Madigan, Nicole Racine, and Suzanne Tough at The Conversation.