Stemming from a comment left on my blog, I was directed to check out a relatively new blog entitled It’s Your Birth Right!! and I have to report that this is quickly becoming one of my new favorite blogs J!
Blog creator Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH is an author, educator, childbirth enthusiast, and woman’s advocate. She writes that the goal of her blog is “to help women and their families make INFORMED decisions about their birth experience based on HONEST/ UNBIASED information.”
I am most excited about two of Nicole’s posts entitled: Choose Wisely Part I & Part II. These posts are great because they are better than any other article I have ever read about how and why families should be picky about choosing their best birth attendant. In my opinion these posts not only give great, unbiased advice and reference variety of helpful resources, but they are also honest about the Top 4 TERRIBLE reasons for picking a birth attendant.
“I get questions, all the time from friends, friends of friends and even strangers. They want my thoughts about pregnancy, labor and childbirth. I have spent HOURS talking with women providing answers and information they should be able to get from their prenatal provider/birth attendant. I think to myself at the end of those conversations, “Why isn’t she able to get this information from her? If he doesn’t make her feel special, does not answer her questions, and doesn’t agree with her philosophy on childbirth and labor, why on earth is she allowing him to be her birth attendant?!”
When I pose this question to the women themselves, the answers unfortunately never include “Because I did my research and I found him to be the best match for me and my desired childbirth experience.” Most of the answers I receive fall into the four categories below, none of which are good enough reasons alone to choose a prenatal care provider/birth attendant.”
The four categories that Nicole is referring to are:
1) “She delivered my sister/girlfriend.”
2) “She is my gynecologist.”
3) “He is the best/most popular person in area.”
4) “Her office is so close and convenient to my office/house.”
I have to “second that” to every thing that Nicole writes about in her two posts. I too am flabbergasted at how many women spend more time researching a new car, camera, computer, appliance, or handbag purchase than they do researching their care provider or birth options. I am also floored by many of the women I take care of that seem to have NO IDEA how their doctor or midwife actually thinks, feel, and behaves in a labor & delivery setting. One time, and I am not exaggerating, a woman I was assigned to care for looked up at me after a particularly upsetting encounter with her attending obstetrician (he was very rough with her vaginal exam, was down right pissed off that she refused an amniotomy and an epidural, and stormed out of the room) and said, “Wow, I didn’t realize he was so pushy! He was really rude! I don’t know if I want him to deliver my baby!” I was thinking to myself, “HOW in God’s name are you just figuring out now that he is an asshole?!” (Excuse my language but this particular doctor is a high intervention, low patience physician with the stats to prove it, on top of the fact that he treats nurses like his personal empty-headed gophers…ARG!) Turns out the only research she did to find this doctor was that her cousin went to him and was happy with his services since he agreed to induce her early because she was “sick of being pregnant” (her words, not mine).
Of course there is also the lying phenomenon as well and this is one area where I feel the most sympathy for my patients. That’s right ladies…people LIE and I hope that I am not the first person to tell you that doctors and midwives are people too!! That’s why, as Nicole writes, interviewing potential birth attendants and ASKING FOR THEIR STATISTICS is so important. Someone I know ended up switching her birth attendant at 36 weeks along because it had turned out that he flat out lied about his experience and philosophy regarding VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean). For example, if you have a question about a particular intervention, say episiotomy rate, and the birth attendant you are interviewing either skirts the question or says something vague like, “I only do them when I deem necessary,” I encourage you to ask him for his STATS. You might be surprised at how often he “deems it necessary.” It is also important to note that you cannot make sweeping generalizations about a care provider just by their credentials, that is, not all midwives follow a midwifery model of care and not all obstetricians follow a medical model of care (although by the very nature of their education many of them do). So it is still important to research your birth attendant even if you are planning on choosing a midwife!
Also, I wonder if many women do not research their care providers/birth attendants because they come from generations of women who nodded their heads, smiled, and did exactly everything their doctor told them too regarding their reproductive health. I mean, if a woman’s mother, aunts, and grandmothers didn’t question their doctors, what influence does she have to act any differently? The good news however is that in today’s day in age, unlike our mothers and grandmothers, we have a most wonderful thing called THE INTERNET J. So you have no excuse!
But really, I am preaching to the choir here aren’t I seeing as if you are reading this blog you obviously are seeking out more information J. Rock on! But to all the ladies out there who might be thinking about getting pregnant or are currently pregnant who haven’t yet started to do their research, I hope at some point someone tunes you in to all of the fantastic, helpful information that’s out there J!! In my dream world, no women ever feels the need to say “If I had only known…”