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Your Childbirth Rights – And How To Say No, Nicely

Comments (8)
  1. Cody says:

    As I learned in Child Birth class when it comes to making decisions use your B-R-A-I-N, Ask what are the Benefits?, What are the Risks?, What are the Alternatives?, What is your Instinct/Intuition telling you? and What happens if you do Nothing. I ended up doing number 7 myself, while my doctor who was a male was nice enough he didn’t really seem to meet my needs, I switched to a Midwife, best decision ever! She really listens to me, people think I am crazy but I feel like she really gets what I want because she has kids and has personal experience. I feel like Male doctors in general just kind of put up a wall and they do whatever is convenient for them because they realistically have no clue what it’s like to be pregnant. My first doctor told me that I would have to have a C-section because I was overweight before I got pregnant and I wanted a second opinion which is why I switched to a midwife. Anytime I need her I can reach her she has been so wonderful and doesn’t make me feel crazy when I say something doesn’t feel right.

  2. Dr. J says:

    As a 30-something female Obstetrician and women’s health advocate, I encourage my patients to ask questions and speak up. I absolutely recommend discussing your birth plan with your care provider early, so that your individual clinical picture can be reviewed and both of you can agree on what is reasonable. .
    Please understand, however, that the clinical picture can change almost instantly, so flexibility is key. Keep in mind that though your physician or midwife may agree to your plan, other providers in the group may be responsible for your care when you arrive in labor, and they may not be open to accommodate all of your wishes.

    I think that most OBs (especially females) & midwives really genuinely want to give you the experience that you want, and will work with you. However, the most important thing is that you and your baby go home safe and healthy! Some procedures are in place for very specific reasons–most are geared to reducing fetal/maternal morbidity and mortality.

    My patients know that they can trust me to respect their wishes as much as possible, and they know that if I am pushing them on an issue, it’s because I’m extremely concerned about the potential for disaster. Few women and families realize all the dangers that can be involved in pregnancy, labor, and delivery. They shouldn’t have to think on all of that. It’s my job to guard against those things while they focus on their joy and preparations for a new addition. But when I am somber and issuing a warning, I do expect patients to be reasonable. After all, God forbid, if things come crashing down, you will want ME to suddenly make a new plan that makes everything done or not done in YOUR plan turn out alright…

  3. Hilary says:

    I am a labor nurse and I actually REALLY liked this website. I wish more patients would stand up for themselves and the dead baby card gets pulled WAY too frequently. I do understand they need to tell you the risks and benefits of a procedure (which will often include fetal death) but it drives me nutty!

  4. Kristy says:

    Great article. One thing I will say may be taken the wrong way & I’m sure was unintentional. A doula is to support the family in the decisions they make but are not a representative or spokesperson to medical staff on behalf of the family. The doula can help the family remember the right questions to ask but a doula does not make a decision or speak for the family.

    1. Beryl says:

      Doulas are for the pregnant woman, not for the family.

  5. Tom says:

    Useful article, thanks for the balanced approach! Although as a male obstetrician it’s disappointing to see generalisations in the comments about male doctors; we might not physically have been through the process, but we’ve often seen our wives go through it, and can in fact be more sympathetic (I’ve known women feel like their female carers have an attitude of “I’ve done this before, it’s not that bad, pull yourself together!”). We don’t expect any other physician to have gone through the same condition as their patients! (I realise pregnancy isn’t a disease.)

    The only point at which I would debate the content of this article is regarding risk, and insistence on personalisation. It’s great when mothers ask questions and want to know the pros and cons, but inevitably the recommendation with the best evidence behind them are based on huge studies, and therefore are by definition non-personalised.

    If I say to someone “we recommend induction in this condition to reduce the risk of stillbirth, which is increased”, that’s based on meta-analysis of thousands. I’m not going to be able to tell you what your exact risk is, whether you would be one of the lucky or unlucky ones, whether the fact that you’re slightly over or under weight adjusts that risk up or down (unless a robust sub-group analysis was done) and so on. So the question “what will happen if I don’t?” is kind of fair, but also kind of difficult. The answer is probably “it’s quite likely nothing would happen – but you are accepting an increase in the risk of XYZ, which I really can’t quantify for you.”

    The reason the dead baby card gets pulled (and I agree it shouldn’t be, other than in the most dire of circumstances when it is absolutely true) is that, to an OBGYN, it seems crazy to say “my birth experience is worth increasing the risk of a dead or damaged baby”. I don’t think any of us would make that choice, and it’s very hard for us to accept that some women will!

  6. Kitt says:

    Tom,
    It is interesting how your first paragraph jumped right in speaking about your feelings being hurt. Of course women would rather have female doctors and female support. Do you hear women or understand when women say what a woman feels when make doctor and male staff have access to their bodies or a man seeing and touching her checking your naked body while you are flat on your back.?

    I firmly think that you as a man would defend men who preferred another man to do treatment on their genial parts.

    Try not be so quick to scold women for wanting only females to examine and care for their naked bodies. It’s very normal and natural. Lastly, it is very true that you as a man does not know how pregnancy and childbirth feels. Seeing your wife go thru it, still does not afford you the real experience. Why do you men try to be included in us telling you this? Womencannot ejaculate sperm into our wives’ bodiesand we will never know how you men feel, and we certainly don’t write comments on a male site or get our feelings s hurt about male issues.

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