Birthing Decisions and Political Correctness: What Can We Say?

I was involved in a Facebook exchange recently that left me wondering when is it okay to spread the word about a woman’s rights during pregnancy and labor, and when is it best to keep your mouth shut?

First, I will tell you how this exchange went. An acquaintance of mine has been having a difficult pregnancy. She has been filling her Facebook status updates with news about anemia and the transfusions she received for that. I offered advice about supplements and diet changes that brought me back from severe anemia in time to birth safety at home. However, this advice was not well received. I was told, basically, that her doctor knows best and that’s that. So, I left it alone.

More recently, the same woman posted that her baby is “at risk” because of too much amniotic fluid and fluid on the brain. Okay, now that sounds scary! Her update on this had to do with a possible cesarean as a result of the baby’s at risk status. I was delighted when she said later that day that she would not need a cesarean, but biweekly non-stress tests would be required. My exact statement was, “yay, no csection!”

The replies I received to that statement were shocking to me. Some woman I don’t know said, “csections aren’t bad!”

Next, she going to say formula is just as good as breastmilk right?

The other comment I got was from the pregnant woman, and she said, “I was hoping.for a csection.”. To which I replied, “a cesarean should only be performed if the mommy or baby would be endangered should the pregnancy continue, or through a vaginal birth.”. She then replied, “well, my baby is at risk.”

I wanted to say so many things, but the biggest thing that came to mind was that the U.S. does not have such a high cesarean rate because doctors hesitate to cut women open, so if the baby is such a high risk wouldn’t they have gotten him out immediately?

I said nothing. She did not seem to want my advice. She wasn’t asking me what she should do, so I let it be. She has had 36 weeks to educate herself on birth choices, and the risks of unnecessary interventions and she hasn’t so its not my job right? If that’s the case, then why do I feel like I have failed her in some way?

At 38 weeks they decided to induce her labor. She believes it is because her baby is at risk, but I can’t help but wonder if an induction on a woman right before hurricane Irene hit our area is a matter of convenience for the doctor.  They did not schedule a cesarean, so I guess a vaginal birth wasn’t considered dangerous. 

I don’t know how to balance educating a pregnant woman and the risk of scaring her or worse making her mad.   I am not an activist. I am a mess during confrontation. Seriously, I want nothing more than a peaceful existence, but the education I received while under the care of a midwife during my fifth pregnancy was a powerful tool that has helped me to evolve as a mother and a person. I feel like the wool was pulled away from my eyes and finally I can see, with clarity, what is being done to all women not just pregnant women. I want to help educate and strengthen women.

I have not yet seen an update about how the induction went for that woman. I wonder if it ended up in a cesarean. I truly hope all went well for her and her baby.  I wish I had not chickened out of saying more to her.  Where is the line? Maybe someone out there can give me ideas for the next time I end up in a situation with a seriously under educated pregnant woman.

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