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Asking Questions in Maternity Care

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When it comes to healthcare, many of us have a subconscious attitude of 'they know best', 'they have more qualifications than me' or 'they have my best interests at heart'. 

These things are true to an extent. Your caregivers have trained for many years to get to the position they are now in and it is important to remember that they would not ever wish to actively harm you. However, you are absolutely entitled to making your own decisions, understanding your own care and being involved in the process. Your healthcare professionals may have never met you before, they can only base the care they provide on their past experiences, current guidelines and what they consider to be up to date research. They do not know you, your body, your baby or your opinions. 

When you are pregnant, you can often feel vulnerable and certainly this is a consideration during birth. This makes you less likely to offer your opinion, question during discussions or challenge what is being said. This, paired with the hierarchy we have created in our minds, makes it very difficult to get your true thoughts across and can lead to an attitude of going along with what the doctor or midwife is saying.

Not for one second are we saying that your healthcare provider is RIGHT or WRONG, or that you should disregard their opinions completely at all times, but it is so important to explore all your options before making a decision. Here are a few questions that you may like to ask during your appointments or birth, to ensure you are comfortable with everything that is going on.

The perfect start to exploring your options: 'I am not quite sure I understand that, please can you explain it to me again?'

Going deeper: 'Is there any evidence to support that? If so, could you direct me to it?'

Finding alternatives: 'Aside from X, is there anything else that I/we could do?'

Weighing up your options: 'If I were to do X, would it effect Y?' 'What is the difference between A and B?'

Needing time: 'I think it would benefit me/us to think about this for a little while, can you give us a minute/hour/day?'

Wanting a second opinion: 'I/We respect your opinion, but is there anyone else I/we could speak to about this?'

 

A good acronym we often use in hypnobirthing is BRAINS: