Advocating for yourself sounds bizarre right? As a first-time pregnant mother, you are probably wondering why you need to do this as your doctor is completely supportive and you trust them completely.
As a mother who has had very healthy complication-free pregnancies, it was an utter shock when I ended up with 3 c-sections. The first 2 times as much as I would like to say I advocated for myself, I could have done a lot better. Advocating for yourself not only means standing up for yourself during your prenatal appointments. It means standing up for your birthing needs and being able to speak up when you are being offered or forced into something you didn’t want during labor/birth. Of course, there is a difference when you are in an emergency situation and need your doctor’s input.
Always remember that your doctor is serving you as a patient. You are paying your doctor to provide you with care. You have every right to ask that question twice, request an explanation, or request that your wishes be fulfilled.
Between the few OB’s I saw, I heard things like you might need a c-section because your baby is measuring too big, and we need to schedule an induction because you haven’t dilated till now (at 39 weeks), or you can’t have a VBAC because your cervix is too small and you won’t be able to push a baby out.
I always doubted myself and had terrible anxiety around the time of meeting my doctors because of how they made me feel. However, when I spoke to doulas or midwives there was a comforting reassurance of “you can do this and you will do the best you can to get the natural birth you want.” I wasn’t “fighting” them.
The best things you can do to advocate for yourself is:
- Educate yourself on Childbirth by doing a course and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about pregnancy, labor, and birth.
- Know your rights and your options
- Ask for evidence for anything that is forced upon you that you would not like.
- You have a right to refuse procedures
- Get yourself a Doula and request that she or your husband (or both) be your advocates during Labor
“Your experiences in pregnancy and birth – particularly your first birth – will become a part of your life story”, BC Western from 42 weeks.
In the end, this will be your birth experience. Trust in yourself and trust your instincts.
To get a checklist on how you can prepare for a natural birth and a free birth plan click here.