Too often, pregnant people and couples are under the impression that they have very little control over their pregnancy and birth, and that they need or should accept whatever suggestions are given to them by care providers, no questions asked.
This is simply not true.
As a pregnant person, it is not just your right, but your responsibility to make informed decisions regarding your pregnancy and birth. Just like it is your responsibility later on as a parent to make other informed decisions for the well-being and upbringing of your child.
Having a baby is a major event, which will change your life forever. The way you perceive and participate in this event will make a big difference for it's outcome, how you experience it, and for how you and your baby remembers it later on. You do not want to leave the responsibility for something this important solely in the hands of others, risking to look back at the event with regret and anger.
So how do you take responsibility in the right way? The answer is, informed decision making!
Here are some simple pointers to keep in mind.
- Spend some time considering what kind of birth you wish to have, and then spend some time finding a care provider which will support you in that goal.
- Do your research to know what your options are in regards to birth facilities, birth professionals, pain-relief, birth educators, birth support, and other types of care before, during, and after pregnancy.
- When or if a care provider suggests different interventions and procedures, use your right to ask relevant questions for risks, benefits, need, and urgency, until you feel confident to make an informed decision regarding if you should accept the suggestion or not.
Of course, we must keep in mind that birth can sometimes be very unpredictable. At times, the baby decides to be born before arrival to the planned birthing facility, or in the case of a home birth, before the midwife arrives. At other times, special circumstances calls for a quick change of plans, such as transfer from the home or birth center to a hospital, or the need for a surgical birth instead of a vaginal birth. In the latter scenarios, there are situations where perhaps there is not much time for discussion due to the urgency and risk related to the well-being of the mother or the baby. And in these scenarios, you are wise to trust the medical professional.
However, knowing that birth can be unpredictable, does not mean you need to leave it to chance. With the right research and preparation, and the right support, you will be able to handle whatever turn your birthing takes in a positive and calm manner, knowing throughout that you are in charge for making the right decisions for yourself and your baby. This way, even in cases when birth did not happen exactly as you visualized it, you will be able to look back at it as a positive and empowering event. And your baby will be born knowing that they are safe and loved, and that they can trust you whatever happens.