Adopting an approach to care that looks beyond simply avoiding injury and fatalities during childbirth can help to ensure women have a positive birthing experience. The policy, known as Respectful Maternity Care, is recommended by the World Health Organisation and involves giving women greater autonomy during childbirth, protecting their dignity and being more mindful of their feelings and choices. One Canadian study found that over 95% of women prefer to be the primary decision maker while giving birth, and yet many women feel pressured to agree to unwanted interventions. With the provision of safe and appropriate modes of delivery, and adequate support to prove medical negligence after a birth injury, women’s autonomy during childbirth can be maintained.
Finding Support In Cases of Birth Injury
Until recently, assistive devices were commonly used to aid delivery during a difficult birth. The use of vacuum extraction has declined and now only 1% of vaginal deliveries involve forceps. This is largely because of the risks involved as using forceps with excessive force during delivery can cause several types of injury to a baby’s head. These can include fractures to the skull or an epidural hematoma, a brain injury that can lead to the developmental disorder cerebral palsy. In situations where a mother suspects injury is as a result of malpractice, an epidural birth injuries lawyer will review a child’s medical records to confirm if this is the case. With the support of experts, mothers are in a stronger position to seek compensation for ongoing medical costs and other expenses.
Understanding the Risks of an Elective Caesarean
Where health factors suggest a natural birth may be potentially difficult, performing a Caesarean section can reduce the risk of any injury to both the baby and its mother. While Caesareans are sometimes medically advised in this way, around 2.5% of Caesarean deliveries are now performed at the request of the mother. Although it is important to respect their right to choose an elective Caesarean, the procedure is not without risks and any decision made must be an informed one. The operation should not be performed before 39 weeks and the mother should be aware of the risks involved should she require another Caesarean section in the future.
Choosing to Give Birth at Home
The number of home births has risen by almost 80% since 2004, with many more taking place during the recent pandemic restrictions. The majority of home births are planned and, for many women who are not in danger of experiencing complications during their delivery, having the choice of a home delivery is very important to them. At home they feel more comfortable and better supported by their family and, as long as they are made fully aware of any potential risks, can enjoy the in-person support of trusted family and friends which is not always possible in a clinical setting.
In addition to minimizing the risk of birth trauma, by allowing women to make informed choices about their delivery, healthcare professionals can ensure that they are treated with dignity and that their wishes are upheld.