Have you ever felt scared or insecure when asking your doctor a question? Personally, there have been times when I felt like, “what if I ask a stupid question,” or “will she think I’m one of those know-it-all internet research junkies,” or “I don’t want to come across as too pushy.” As it turns out, women who feel this way aren’t alone. A recent study in Health Affairs highlights how patients, worried about being labeled “difficult,” can be reluctant to discuss or question a health care provider’s recommendation.[i] For pregnant women, the pressure to agree to certain practices from family and friends, as well as care providers, can be significant. In fact, a Childbirth Connection study showed that many mothers have felt pressured by a health care provider to have an induction (17 percent with induction) and C-section (24 percent with cesarean).[ii]
In recognition of this issue, Lamaze International has initiated the “Push for Your Baby” campaign, which encourages women to advocate for better care for their babies and themselves. “With the right information and education, women have the opportunity to be active partners in their care during pregnancy and birth, not just recipients of that care,” said Lamaze President-elect Tara Owens Shuler, MEd, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, Director of Continuing Education, Special Projects, and Lamaze Childbirth Educator Program for the Duke AHEC Program. “This campaign is designed to help women be ‘savvy shoppers’ and prepared to seek out the best care for their babies and themselves.”
Through the Push for Your Baby campaign, Lamaze is working to provide expecting parents with the tools and resources they need to partner with their care providers to get that care, including:
- PushforYourBaby.com – A website dedicated to expecting moms and dads that houses up-to-date information about childbirth challenges, ways to identify the best care, tips for pushing for better care, details about Lamaze education, and questions to ask their care provider.
- Parents Push – With this shareable video, moms – and dads – share their personal childbirth experience, both the highs and lows, and underscore the importance of childbirth education to having the safest, healthiest birth possible. The video offers those expecting a little one a chance to hear directly from someone who has been in their shoes.
- Push Story Sharing – Lamaze knows that some of the best learning happens through story telling. The Push for Your Baby campaign gives parents the opportunity to share both written and video birth stories highlighting the things they were glad they knew – or wish they had known – before labor and delivery, as well as the role that childbirth education played in their experience. Submissions will be shared on the campaign website and the top three entries in each category (written and video) will receive prizes from Lamaze, Tomy and GC Brands Childrenswear, and their photos and blogs posted to the home pages of Lamaze.org and PushForYourBaby.com.
“Its all about women getting the care that matches their unique needs, and not just having things happen to them. Sometimes that may mean saying, ‘I’d like to consider another option,’” said Shuler. “Women should know it’s OK to push for better. And knowing how to spot good maternity care is the key to getting it.”
“With clear challenges to getting high-quality maternity care, the value in being prepared and educated is more important than ever,” said Shuler. “Childbirth education may seem like a hassle to busy parents and Google might feel like a decent way to answer questions, but a good childbirth education class can help pregnant women sort through conflicting or inaccurate information, and give them the tools they need to get the care they want. Lamaze certified childbirth educators (LCCE) have a stake in the expecting parents we teach, and it’s our priority to help them achieve the safest, healthiest outcomes.”
In addition to Push for Your Baby, Lamaze recently launched a newly revamped website (www.lamaze.org) with a focus on expecting parents, and a separate site dedicated to supporting Lamaze educators (www.lamazeinternational.org). The new parents’ site features the Push for Your Baby campaign resources, a social media updates, a video library, tips for expecting parents and evidence-backed information about maternity care from pregnancy through birth.
[i] Frosch, D., et. al. Authoritarian Physicians And Patients’ Fear Of Being Labeled ‘Difficult’ Among Key Obstacles To Shared Decision Making. Health Affairs. May 2012. Available online: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/5/1030.abstract.
[ii] “Listening to Mothers II Report.” Childbirth Connection. 2006. Available online: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10396. Accessed 4/16/2012.