Pregnancy comes with a vast array of questions about everything from what color to paint the nursery to the really important stuff like where and how to deliver. As a first time mom to a beautiful 6-month-old little boy, I’ve learned a lot about pregnancy and a lot about delivery over the past year and a half. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that it’s easy to fall into the habit of listening to everyone else’s opinions about your pregnancy and delivery. If my doctor said “jump,” I triumphantly responded, “how high?” without ever thinking that every decision I made wasn’t only affecting me, but also my baby. If I could go back and tell myself one piece of advice, it would be to ask more questions about my body, my baby and my care. It’s hard to know what you’re doing and it’s easy to take everything you hear at face value and sometimes that’s not always the best thing for you or your baby. Because of my own journey with preterm labor, hospital bed rest and induction, I am so excited to share with you a new campaign from Lamaze International that’s changing the way women think about their bodies and their care.
The new campaign encourages women to push for better maternity care. Titled Push for your baby, the campaign provides tools and information that expecting parents need to push for the best care. “Like many other areas of health care, we know there are gaps in quality for pregnant women and their babies. The system is imperfect and often rewards care that’s fast and expedient, but not necessarily best for the healthiest outcomes,” said Catherine Ruhl, MS, CNM, Director, Women's Health Programs, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) in a recent press conference introducing the campaign. Lamaze is stepping in to educate women on the unpredictable nature of pregnancy, the need for Lamaze education to aid in decisions about interventions and the idea that there should be a healthy dialogue between care providers, as well as, a foundation of peer-to-peer support, says Allison Walsh, IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE and former president of Lamaze International.
In our new bustling world, it’s easy to get generic care that’s not personalized for individual situations. By taking a childbirth education course, expecting parents will have the power of gaining support emotionally, finding out alternatives options for what we think are common practices (like C-sections, inductions, and episiotomies) and embracing the idea that we are in control of our bodies.
Through the new campaign, Lamaze International urges women to be an active participant in their care. This may mean asking questions and speaking up when there’s a concern. Learn to ask “why” and seek out other alternatives for options you aren’t sure about using. Certain questions like, “why do I need to be induced?” and “why can’t I birth vaginally?” are questions that aren’t always asked but should be. You are your baby’s only advocate and your voice does matter.
Watch below as real-life moms explain their birthing process and how they wished they would’ve pushed harder for better care. Then take control of your body, mind and baby, and get your notebook ready. No question is too silly to ask and no avenue is too adventurous to explore. You have the power to push for your baby.