On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Tatiana Koontz, a midwife and postpartum doula in San Diego, where they discuss Informed Consent. They dive deep on the difference between consent and informed consent/choice, the importance of individualized care, and how the pregnant body is designed to give birth naturally.
Please note that we had some audio recording issues during part of the today’s episode. If you have any problems understanding the interview, we have transcribed it, and are including a link to the transcription below the embedded episode player below.
On the episode, they discuss the importance of stepping into the role of parent and taking on the responsibility of caring for someone else. This starts during pregnancy, and making sure you understand all of the procedures and tests being run, and why. As parents, it becomes your responsibility to make decisions on behalf of another person on a daily basis, and learning how to ask questions, and how to approach the decision-making process in a way that feels right to you and your family is an important skill, and one you can start honing during pregnancy.
Knowing the benefits and risks of each thing allows you to make decisions on a case by case basis about what is right for you, your child, and your family. Each person and family’s perspectives on risk are different, and taking each individual’s perspective, needs, and desires into account is important because what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily going to be right for everyone. A great example of this is the decision to get/reject the Vitamin K shot for infants. Vitamin K (potassium) is a necessity to help with clotting in the case of a cut or injury. Infants are not born with enough Vitamin K in their bloodstream to facilitate clotting, and don’t produce enough until they are about 8 days old. For my (Elle) first child, it didn’t make sense to give her a Vitamin K shot because there was no reason to believe she would be injured and need blood clotting within the first 8 days of life. My second child, however, was born with a congenital heart defect and needed open-heart surgery at 4 days old. In this case, it 100% made sense to give the Vitamin K injection based on this child’s individual needs.
Another thing they dive deep on is bodily consent. Tatiana talks about how the body doesn’t just give verbal consent, but that there is a deeper, more visceral consent that needs to be given by the relaxation of the body in the face of procedures. For instance, even if a laboring person gives consent for a vaginal exam, if their body hasn’t relaxed (bodily consent), a forceful exam can be extremely painful and triggering. Consent isn’t just verbal.
“Each family has their own values, preferences, philosophies, and so not everybody is going to make the same choice.” – Tatiana
“As a parent, you are the representative or the voice of your child when it comes to medical concerns or procedures, so it’s really important to get used to that in pregnancy.” – Tatiana
“It’s important not only wait for the person to tell you that they consent to whatever you want to do, but also wait for their body to do it.” – Tatiana
“You need to find a provider who will respect your verbal consent but also your bodily consent. It’s so important!” – Elle
“The birthing body is designed to give birth… weight, head size, really doesn’t matter as much as everyone seems to think it does.” – Taylor
“Breech is just a normal variation of birth.” – Tatiana
“There is no such thing as allowing you to do something with your body. They either support it, or they don’t.” – Tatiana
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Tatiana is a California Medical Board Licensed Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, monitrice and postpartum doula. She owns a home birth midwifery practice in San Diego called Birth Waves Midwifery. She is fluent in Spanish.
Tatiana has devoted her life to birth and postpartum work since she trained as a doula in 2006 and has been privileged to walk with hundreds of families on parts of their special journeys. She has a deep love for postpartum support, helping families transition as they integrate their babies and overcome challenges. Tatiana has a passion for birth options, informed consent, improving connections within families, and building their community.
Resources related to today’s episode:
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