On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Madalyn Morris, a childbirth educator and birth doula, to discuss Consent and Advocating for yourself in the birth room. They talk about the importance of informed consent, what advocating might look like, different scenarios you might need to advocate for yourself, and how you can help equip partners and your other birth support persons to help advocate for you if needed.
Informed consent is essential in so many aspects of life, but in the birth room, informed consent means making sure you understand the benefits, risks, and alternatives of any procedures (or lack thereof) before you make any decisions. Too often, birthing people are approached with dialogue that doesn’t make it sound as if they have a choice, and it is important to know you always have a choice, even if the choice is simply “yes or no.”
Advocating for yourself is important, but sometimes it’s really hard to do. Whether you are simply someone who doesn’t like to speak up, whether you tend to defer to people in a position of authority, or whether you are simply unable to verbalize your wants and needs during labor, it can be incredibly helpful to have your partner or other birth support person (whether this a friend, family member, or birth worker – like a doula) aware of what your desires are in certain situations so they can double check and make sure your needs and preferences are being honored.
Instead of only making a birth plan, consider also discussing your birth preferences with your partner or birth support person. Let them know how you would like to be tended to under different situations that might arise. Everyone’s birth preferences are going to be unique, and it’s important these have been communicated beforehand. Then, if and when a situation arises, your support person will be able to gently step in and ask the nurse for a moment to confer with you or discuss before making any decisions.
It is also important for your support person to remember that it’s totally ok if you change your mind about what kind of care you want to receive. If you planned on having an unmedicated birth, and decide in the moment that you’d like an epidural, that’s totally fine. Or if you planned on an epidural, but end up handling things better than you thought you would, it’s up to you if you want to continue laboring without it. This is your birth and your labor, and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how you want to labor.
Listen to the episode here:
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Madalyn Morris has been an ICEA-certified Childbirth Educator since 2002. She is also a certified DONA birth doula, an Evidence Based Birth Instructor, a Spinning Babies Certified Parent Educator, Personal Trainer, specializing in pre and postnatal fitness, and a certified massage therapist. Madalyn is a mom to an incredible son, Henry, who is a junior at UCSB. Madalyn is on her way to becoming a Life Coach, has a green thumb, and does CrossFit.
Resources related to today’s episode:
The Bump has a great, pretty comprehensive Birth Preferences Worksheet – you can find it here. Use it to help facilitate conversations with your partner and/or birth support people, and bring a copy with you as you labor, to help you communicate better with providers.
Join our email list to access our freebies page, including our Printable Birth Affirmations pages. We have a few different versions. Some are perfect for putting up on the wall, and others are perfect for cutting out to keep in your pocket, wallet, or purse.
Who are Elle and Taylor?
Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.
Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.
Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography
Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC
Looking for More Content?
Check out Episode 2: Gratitude and Mindset – with Mindy Werth, where they talk about slowing down, creating abundance, and taking care of yourself during pregnancy and postpartum.