When it comes to giving birth, it isn’t always easy to understand what you should and should not do and sometimes, your care provider can make you feel as if you don’t have a choice in your treatment or care.
But you actually do have a choice and you are allowed to have a say in your pregnancy and birth.
If you have been pregnant recently or had a friend or relative who was pregnant, you might have heard them use the words “allowed” when talking about their care. In reality, as the patient, the pregnant person can and should have a say in how they are treated and the options they are given during pregnancy and birth.
Here are four things you need to know about your birth choices. Read on:
Your health care provider should be your teammate
When you are pregnant and choosing a health care provider (like a doctor or midwife) they should be your teammate – not your boss. What this means, is you should be making decisions about your care together instead of being told what you are allowed – and not allowed – to do.
You should be encouraged to ask questions
If your health care provider isn’t listening to you when you are asking questions about procedures, tests or how you plan to give birth, then you should probably find a new health care provider. Decisions should not be unilateral and your care provider should take into account your concerns and wishes.
You have the right to refuse tests and procedures
When deciding on tests and procedures, you absolutely have the right to decline something. You’ve probably heard of informed consent, which is a legal term that basically means your health care provider gives you the information on a test or procedure and you make your own decision. Sometimes, in prenatal care or birth, this isn’t always made clear to the pregnant person.
You should have a support person with you who can speak up when you cannot
If you are not someone who is good at speaking up or questioning an authority figure like a health care provider, you can and should have a partner – or a doula – who understands your wishes and needs to speak for you. It’s OK to seek someone to advocate for you and your baby.
At Everything Birth, we love supporting pregnant people!