The Confidence Game in birth is alive and well. I'm writing this blog post in response to an email from a client. Up until now this client has received total support and confidence from their caregiver regarding their ability to give birth naturally. It has always been a valid option for them.
Today when they went to a regular, scheduled hospital appointment, they faced a different person to last time. A person who through their 'counselling' instilled the first seed of doubt in their choices. A person who made it clear that they held the medical degree (and hello how many medical professionals don't ;)
Given my client's (totally valid) choice to have a natural birth, which was based on an analysis of benefits, risks, alternatives, using intuition, she wondered should she now be scared?
What were the consequences?
The consequence of this change in caregiver support meant that she had the support of midwifery care removed. She was scheduled for extra weekly and fortnightly tests. Plus she has been told she now has time limits on her labour!!!
She wrote to me to ask if this was standard practice, or just a one-off supportive Dr?
My answer is this. Welcome to the Birth Confidence Game (also referred to as the Bait and Switch).
The Bait and Switch is when you are lured in to selecting a care provider who you believe is supportive of the style of birth you aspire to, but then when you get later in pregnancy, or are in labour - your choices are no longer respected. Previously unmentioned limits are applied, you are treated differently, you are told things that make you doubt your body's ability to birth your baby safely, the seeds of doubt are sown with leading questions.
The reasons for care givers being unsupportive of you having a natural birth may be many. Sure there may be risks (but having done your research you already know about that). They may be inexperienced and scared of supporting you through something they know nothing to very little about. They may have been privvy to a bad experience in the past and still be scared by trauma. They may even have just heard bad stories from colleagues. The possible reasons are endless and irrelevant.
No expecting parent wants to put their unborn child at risk at any cost.
So here's what you need to remember when facing the Confidence Game:
1. It's still your choice - your body, your baby, your choice - ALWAYS
Your choices are still the same as they were before - you just need to find a more supportive caregiver.
2. Everyone has their own filters.
Filters influence how they view the world. Filters say that Home Birth isn't safe, or that women with GD shouldn't birth in the tub. These are not evidence-based but learned from experiences (and I have experienced both of these so they are all possible)
3. Ask for the evidence or the policy. If a care provider is waving statistics at you, or stating that this is policy - ask for the research/policy and ask to take a copy home with you. If they can't provide you with evidence/policy refuse to budge until they do.
4. Get Independent Support. Hire a doula (you can Contact Me here), an independent midwife, or whomever will support your right to birth the way you really want (and not just take what's on offer)
Have you been affected by the Confidence Game In Birth? If so comment below and let me know.