Posts Tagged ‘interventions’

Your Right and Responsibility

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I’ve heard so many people say they do what the doctor says because, ” they are the expert”.  When I first became pregnant I thought that way too. I figured I’d do what everyone else does, listen to the doctor and go to the hospital and have my baby. Thank goodness I was raised in a family who taught me to ask questions.

Through my own process of exploration during my pregnancy I learned a few things. I learned even more when I became a Certified Bradley Teacher and Birth Doula.  One of the most important things I learned that I like to share with my clients and students is to never just accept something because someone says it’s so, even if they are an “expert”. Shoot, don’t even take my word for it. Do your due diligence. Educate yourself, ask questions, get answers and go within.

Here’s the reality. Doctors are trained to practice medicine and do surgery. Obstetricians  are not trained to view birth as a safe and natural experience. If they were trained to see birth as natural and normal, there wouldn’t be much for them to do. They are trained to look for the potential emergency waiting to happen and sometimes they inadvertently cause it through unnecessary intervention. It’s not totally their fault though. Because they practice in medical establishments (hospitals) and administer medical procedures (interventions) they do see many abnormal births and emergencies thus THAT becomes their normal. Because most women give birth in hospitals with doctors, that view has become the norm but is not normal.

Birth is natural, normal and safe. Sure emergencies happen and not all pregnancies and births end happily but life is not perfect. Even the most perfectly designed process like procreation is imperfect. Such is life. While things can go wrong by nature, many more things can go wrong with unnecessary interference.

All interventions pose risks and benefits and it is your job to understand what they are so that you can make an informed choice on your baby’s behalf. Unfortunately, true informed consent, where you are get all the risks and benefits for both sides, just is not happening. Thus the burden falls on you the consumer to ask questions and keep asking until you get the answers you need to feel confident as the responsible party for you own health and that of your baby.

Now I don’t want to sound anti-doctor because I am not. In fact, there are some amazing doctors whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with and get to know over the years.  And what makes these doctors stand out from the rest is their ability to bring a different perspective to the table. They are able to see beyond the limits of the scope of their training and use logic, reason and perhaps even heart, to guide the way they practice medicine. They know when intervention is necessary and when to let nature take its course.  They mostly trust the normal process of birth. They know how to engage their patients as active participants in the process of their own birth experience.  They actually want their patients to be informed and don’t feel threatened when questions are raised.

When you hand over your power to your doctor or other care provider you are buying into the idea that “your birth experience doesn’t matter.” You are giving them the authority to treat your birth experience like they do all the others and not give you the individualized treatment you and your baby deserve. Is that okay with you?

I want you to know that Your birth experience does matter. You and your baby are the only ones who are going to live with it, good or bad, for the rest of your lives. No one else.

I’m not suggesting you become an expert in birth by any means, or not listen to your doctor or others. What I am suggesting is that you own your birth experience by educating yourself, asking questions and getting helpful answers that will support you in making the best decisions possible for you and your baby.

Had I gone along with what I thought I would do in the beginning of my pregnancy, I would have never had my beautiful and empowering home birth experiences. I probably would have never become The Pregnancy Coach, Childbirth Educator and a Doula empowering families in their birthing time, and would not be writing this today.

It’s your birth experience, your body and your baby.  It’s your right and responsibility. Will you own It?