Women Deserve Good Childbirth Experiences -- And Healthy Babies

Mom Moment 38

newborn baby toesWhen we reflect on our baby's birth there are a range of emotions. Maybe we remember the anticipation, the excitement, the uncertainty, the happiness, the elation, and sometimes the fear. Our birth experience is important and it's not just about whether baby was born healthy or not. It's also about us -- the mother -- and our well being, both emotionally and physically. If we had a traumatic birth, it affects us in many ways.

There is an organization in the UK called Birthrights that is dedicated to "protecting human rights in childbirth" because less than half of all women there have a birth they want. Here, it's been called birth rape. We cannot stand for being told "Shut up and just be grateful you and your baby are healthy." How we birth truly matters. 

A survey of 1,100 mothers in the UK revealed that 32 percent of pregnant women were not given a choice about where to birth; 31 percent felt they lost control of their birth experience; 23 percent didn't have a choice on where they wanted to be during labor; 18 percent felt their doctors weren't listening to them; and 24 percent had a procedure performed on them that they didn't consent to. We aren't being listened to. Things are happening without our consent. This is wrong.

Far too many women are disappointed in their birth not because of the outcome of having a healthy baby, but because their rights as a human being were ignored. Their choice was taken away. Their voices weren't heard. Procedures were performed without permission! This is not how women should be treated.

Forty-one percent of the mothers who were part of this study also said the way they birthed their baby impacted how they felt about themselves, with 22 percent saying it negatively affected how they felt about their baby. This isn't about a woman upset things didn't go exactly according to birth plan -- this is about how her voice wasn't heard, she was silenced, she was ignored, her rights were taken away from her at one of the most important moments of her life. This could certainly lead to postpartum depression and it makes mothers have no confidence in herself as a mom, which could in turn negatively affect the bond a mother makes with her child. There is far too much at stake here for us to ignore these stats or ignore a mother's wishes for how she wants to labor and deliver.

The best start we could give a woman as she enters into motherhood is confidence -- she deserves to be heard and respected. It's often why women work with doulas and midwives instead of hospitals. We want an advocate who is knowledgeable and on our side. Every mom deserves the best treatment, just as every person deserves it. Our mental and emotional health is just as important as our physical well being -- and the mothers of the world deserve respect.

Did you have a traumatic birth that affected you? In what ways? What would you change about your experience? Did you feel your voice was heard and respected?

Image via SurFeRGiRL30/Flickr

delivery, emotions, labor & delivery, labor, motherhood


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Tracys2 Tracys2

My understand was that in the UK (at least in the past), home births with midwives were the norm, at least for all births after the first, unless there was high risk.

In other words, they had the exact birth experience that we as US Americans (I'm not sure about Canada) have been requesting. This data seem to show that there may be more to it than midwifery v. OBs.Not sure what the actual solution is, if there be one.

nonmember avatar Jaysgirl

Actually a healthy baby is more than enough. Try going 9 months of a healthy pregnancy and then the day before your due date being told there is no heartbeat. Than go through labour and give birth to a child in a silent room with no baby crying.
Than after being told you're young and healthy, try again. So you do. And you have a beautiful health baby boy a year later.
So boo frickin' hoo you had to have a section when you didn't want one, or have an IV when you didn't want one. Get over it and hug your baby and have him or her open their eyes and look at you. Because believe me, the alternative is much worse.

nonmember avatar Anna Gardner

I have four children and my last birth was horrible. I knew I was in labor but I was also sick. When I went to the hospital they told me I had the flu and pneumonia. Every nurse and every doctor including my ob didn't believe I was in labor. My nurse even told my husband I was lying about my contractions. I was in labor 24 hours with no pain medicine whole I was also terribly sick and couldn't breath.

When it was time to deliver my husband had to get a different nurse and basically beg her to check me. Of course when they did I was ready to go and being my fourth child there wasn't much time. Still I had to wait for the dr to get there. It was ridiculous and if I hadn't been feeling so terrible I probably would have been more assertive. I'm not having any more kids but I was disappointed that my last labor and birth was so horrible.

The people around you while your giving birth should listen to you. Nobody knows your body better than you do especially when it's not your first child.

nonmember avatar vanessa h

Anyone should be grateful they have a healthy baby. But I feel the same way as many women in Europe. My choices/concerns were ignored and my doctor/nurses were so rude and lacked any and all emotions during my delivery. I honestly felt like less if a women because of the doctors choice to do a c-section. I wanted to do a VBAC with my second but the doctor was impatient. When I go for my third child, I will be going through a mid-wife. On a side note there was nothing medically wrong with myself for the baby to require a c-section. The nurses and doctor lacked patience to let my body do what it needed. This has nothing to do with being a hippy and wanting things done naturally.

Cleme... Clemency3

Ugh....while I certainly feel for those Moms...I can't help but say it..that's what happens when your Medical care is socialized. The UK has a much different system for socialism and their laws and when it comes to giving everyone the same kind of options for health care and there is no incentive for health care providers...this is the kind of care you end up with. 

While yes having a healthy baby in the end is more than enough for most of us (I think), there still are some Moms out there that for some reason or another get traumatized when things don't go the way they thought they would. Why they get traumatized...I have no idea. As Moms we were taught the day we got pregnant that labor and delivery never goes fully as planned and to not expect anything and so forth but still there are some Moms out there that do get traumatized and that has to be respected. But again...their government system with their health care is mostly to blame for this. 

amede... amedeiros12

A healthy baby is more than enough. Certain procedures could possibly save both mom & child. My sons birth was awful but in no way does that change me as a person or a mom. All moms deserve respect however some people take the whole thing too far.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I wasnt happy with my first birthing experience. I felt pressured into a c-section because I felt like my doctor got tired of "waiting on me". Not to mention the fact that my OB was picking up slack from another doctor who'd conveniently gone on vacation when loads of his patients were due. It bothered me for a long time, but Im finally over it. My daughter is a healthy 7 year old now and that's what matters to me..

keelh... keelhaulrose

Clemency- I have the same feelings and experiences with both my births here in the US. And niether of them were 'healthy babies' after birth. I had two NICU babies.

work4... work4mickey

Well, I don't know about in the UK, but in the USA, the reason there are so many c-sections is because we are sue happy. Law firms actually advertise on T.V.

"Does you child have this, that, or the other condition? It MAY have been caused during birth. Yada yada yada." The implication is ussually it's your doctors fault for alloqing you to have a natural birth and not intervening. So at the slightest indication of complications, drs are eager to do what it takes to prevent a costly lawsuit.

tansy... tansyflower

people are missing the point. informed consent is the real issue here.  if ob's would stop giving unnessicary time limits and interventions that CAUSE serious medical issues to arise during the birthing process these woman wouldnt be upset.  do you really think an ob tells a first time mother what her chances are of a section if he is inducing her at 39 weeks because the "baby is ready"?  ummm, no it doesnt happen like that.  they are surgeons who make 4 times the amount the money on a section compared to a simple, non medicated vaginal birth.  it is in their best interest to mess things up on purpose so they make more money and that is WRONG.  its just too bad that we as human beings have been brainwashed to hand over all of our medical care to perfect strangers with "degrees" without doing research on possible outcomes and the risks associated with medical interventions that were not needed in the first place.  no woman should have fear and lies used as a tools to get her to consent to ANYTHING.  that is where birth trauma begins and for many woman it is something they deeply regret.  and lets not forget how many babies end up in the nicu caused specifically by bad labor and deliver policies and practices put in place by hospitals and preformed by ob's. 

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