Consent during Childbirth
Being scared into saying yes is not consent!
Have you ever been bombarded with scary statistics related to your pregnancy? Have you ever heard figures bandied around stating that you have a 1:200 chance that something bad is going to happen? Statistically that relates to a 0.5% chance; what if you were told that you had a 99.5% chance that it wouldn’t!
Women are constantly being scared into making decisions that doctors claim are based on evidence and statistics; the problem with this is the way they are presented to women. It is commonly understood that people of sound mind are able to decide whether or not they are going to consent to medical procedures; why is it then that during childbirth there seems to be a perceived exemption from this and women are continually being ignored and undermined when speaking up during childbirth?
Consent can only be informed once the patient is provided with all of the relevant information relating to the alternative options, risks, potential outcomes and success rates. The problem with providing this information during childbirth is that the information is often presented in such a way that instils fear and does not provide for any alternative course of action than that being suggested by the doctor.
There are a number of on-going issues that need to be considered when any intervention is used, this relates not only to the immediate current situation but also the health of the woman, the baby and the family unit as a whole. The woman’s mental health is not insignificant in the child birth journey but is something that is often not considered as being important or relevant to birth. A birthing mother is not just a vessel for bringing children into the world; she is a woman, a partner, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lover. The physical and emotional trauma of childbirth is real and should not be overlooked.
It is time that women take back their power and find their inner strength and intuition. Empowering and evidenced based childbirth education is the way forward. An educated and intuitive woman will be able to understand the birth process, understand their body and most importantly trust in themselves. The process of birth is far more than just the act of birthing a baby. There is a spiritual and primal change that occurs in women who are supported to take an active role in their journey from woman to mother.
This blog is written by Tanya Potter who is both a Midwife, Nurse, and a Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner in Western Australia, North Fremantle. CLICK HERE for more details.
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