It’s easy to forget that as a pregnant person, you are participating in medical and retail decisions as you navigate pregnancy and birth.
As a consumer, you have the right to choose the products and services which will best suit your needs. With that right comes the responsibility to participate in decision-making.
Yes, the responsibility.
Just as you would no sooner drive away in whatever vehicle the car salesman thought was best for you, the same is true for the care you receive as a pregnant person.
According to Spectrum Health’s Patient’s Rights page, as a consumer you have the right and responsibility to make informed decisions about your care, and in fact, should be encouraged to as a safety strategy.
It’s a safety measure that you participate in your care!
To prepare for such a responsibility can be overwhelming. There are specific self-advocacy tools that we cover with our clients to help prepare for that responsibility, but the most basic concepts are as follows:
1 - Know your rights and responsibilities, as laid out by the facility in which you are birthing so you can can work with your team. You shouldn’t have to battle during birth. Are you with a team you believe you can work with? Find out:
Spectrum Health Patient’s Rights
Mercy Health St. Mary’s
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Midwifery Matters Birth Center
2 - Ask questions. And then ask more. Until you truly understand your options, keep asking for more information. But what if there is no time? What if a decision has to be made about the immediate health and safety of my baby? Or myself? Well, that leads to the most important of our points to consider, in our opinion:
3 - Hire a midwife or doctor you trust. When you have made the efforts prenatally to find a provider, in whom you can put your trust, and that provider will be attending your birth, you have fulfilled your responsibilities as a patient when it comes to emergency decision-making. When you work with your provider prenatally to establish trust through productive conversations about your care, it’s more likely you’ll be confident that that trust will not betrayed in an emergency.
The act of birthing a baby presents its own physical and emotional challenges. To those doing so we say “You can do it!”
Being a well-educated consumer, indeed, adds another layer of work to be done, and of course, our mantra is the same: “You. CAN. Do. It!”