Research continues to show that birth outcomes and experiences relate to your choice of care provider and place of birth. For example, if your hospital has a higher rate of cesarean (over 15%), your chance of having a cesarean birth increases. With that knowledge, last year Lamaze International launched the “Push for Your Baby” campaign which aims to provide expectant parents with the support and information needed to push for the safest, healthiest birth possible.
Like any other kind of health care, maternity care isn’t perfect. You can help your baby and you get the best care by being an active partner in your care. Your health care provider – doctor or midwife – has important knowledge and skills, but they don’t always know everything about you or what is best for you and your baby. They need you to speak up about your concerns and needs early so you can get the care you’re looking for throughout pregnancy, labor and birth.
Why does your voice matter? A lot of the regular care that pregnant women receive includes unnecessary interventions that don’t always help and can sometimes even cause harm. Routine care isn’t designed for you and your baby’s unique needs.
So when you’re told that you can’t eat or drink in labor, that you should stay confined to bed to stay attached to the monitor, or that your labor should be artificially started because you’re a few days “overdue,” it’s fair to question and discuss these practices with your health care provider.
Remember that getting the care that matches your and your baby’s needs may mean saying, “I’d like to consider another option.” Asking questions and providing information builds trust, and it’s the best way to make sure everyone is working toward the same goal – the safest, healthiest birth possible.