I am often asked by my clients, how can I advocate for myself during pregnancy and birth? Simply put, advocating for yourself can be a challenging but necessary goal. Allow me to elaborate.
Women have Basic Human Rights that allow them to self-advocate during pregnancy and birth. You have the right to know your options and Informed Consent. The right to safety and equal treatment and the right to basic human decency. Too often, women are pressured by their partners, friends, family, media, and health professionals to ‘listen to the doctor’. While it’s important to consider all information presented, it’s also important to know you have power in your experience.
What does self-advocacy actually look like? I recommend using the acronym BRAIN to gather information from those providing you with care and council.
Remember, it’s okay to ask questions. Some clients tell me they feel uncomfortable asking questions for various reasons. Others tell me they feel like they are being pushy or will upset someone. Your goal is to make an informed decision about your pregnancy. Another tip is to always be as polite, tactful but direct as possible to get what you need. Lastly, it’s the care providers job to answer your questions and your right to utilize informed consent.
Finally heres a list of where to find quality research when you need:
- Evidence Based Birth
- Cochrane Library
- ACOG: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- NICE Guidelines