How far should expectant mums go to get the birth they want?
Whose needs should be considered above all others’ when a woman is planning her birth?
One pregnant mum in the US says her hospital threatened to call child services unless she agreed to have a c-section. Jennifer Goodall from Florida in the US wanted a vaginal birth, but her hospital thought she was placing her baby in unnecessary danger.
Jennifer, 41, found out what the hospital was planning when the Chief Financial Officer of Bayfront Health Port Charlotte wrote to her on July 10. They stated that they intended to perform a cesarean "with or without her consent" if she came to the hospital.
The hospital was concerned because Jennifer had previously had a cesarean. Despite numerous women having vaginal births after c-sections, or VBAC as they are now known, medial staff felt she was putting her baby at risk.
Jennifer was offended by the hospital's implication that she was deliberately endangering her baby. She released a statement saying:
My decision to allow labor to proceed before consenting to a surgical intervention is based on years of research, careful consideration of risks to me and my baby, and my family's needs.
All I want is to be able to go to the hospital when I'm in labor and have my medical decision respected and my decision is to proceed with a trial of labor and not have cesarean surgery unless some medical complication arises that makes cesarean surgery necessary for my or my baby's health.
It's an extreme case but one that raises women's right to choose how to give birth, even if medical staff becomes concerned they are putting their babies at risk. Who has the right to decide?
Another example is this mum who do not want to be induced as she travelled well over her due-date and felt her opinion wasn't being listened to by her care providers:
I was due on the 27th feb, had an emergency c-secton two years ago. Basically the consultant and the midwives are pushing me to be induced on 14th March.
They tried to push me into a cesarian today, which I refused. Now they think I am a trouble maker and I have no support from them at all.
When I refused the c-s, at my appointment, the doctor and midwife discussed the induction directly with each other, as if I wasn't even in the room! They then proceeded to book the induction, and any concerns I voiced about it were ignored!
Now, I don't know what to do.
I know I don't want to be induced, I have it in my birth plan, but they are acting as though I have no choice, I feel rather like a silly child who isn't fit to make decisions at all.
What should be the priority when mother and health professionals don't see eye to eye?
Whose rights are more important when it comes to child birth - the mother or the child?
Did you document your pregnancy as it progressed? Sophie Starenski did. Check out her amazing 'mirror selfie' series showing her progress. Make sure you CLICK THROUGH to the final photo. Photos via Sophie's Tumblr.
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