Having a baby is arguably the most vulnerable yet empowering time of your life. Which means it’s extremely important to know how to advocate for yourself and have true confidence in your abilities.
Remember: you are powerful, confident, and you know you and your body better than anyone. And you can advocate for yourself and use your voice at every opportunity throughout your pregnancy.
But sometimes, it’s not that easy. So for anyone wondering how, here are five simple ways you can advocate for yourself during pregnancy and postpartum.
1. Do your research
Not kidding, look up everything you can about having a healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum experience. After you’ve done that, talk to other mamas on Peanut about their experiences and the recommendations they have.
Next, check out the reviews online about your doctor and the hospital you will be delivering at. Investigate anything that concerns you - reach out to other women who have delivered there, and ask lots of questions. The key here is to feel extremely confident and comfortable with your provider and the hospital.
2. Ask a million questions
If you have questions do not be afraid to ask them. Start by making a list of a minimum of three different questions to ask at each and every prenatal visit. Then, create a separate question list for labor and delivery that focuses on your birthing experience, what to expect, and how you would like it to look.
Don’t forget to make a birth plan, too. This will let your medical team know your labor and delivery preferences when it comes to things like pain management, postpartum care, and newborn procedures. Although we all know things don’t always go as planned, it’s great to have a guideline.
3. Reference the B.A.R.
Nope, not the bar you’re thinking of, sorry! Wine and margaritas will have to wait. But when it comes to your care, medications, and procedures, always remember to run through the B.A.R:
- B: Best option for my health and my baby
- A: Alternatives available
- R: Risk if I decline the procedure, care, or medication.
The B.A.R. method is a great way to help you think through anything presented to you. It allows you to take information and truly analyze how you would like to proceed. You’ll consider the best option, look at alternatives, and investigate all possible outcomes, which helps you make a well-informed final decision. This is guaranteed to help you feel more confident in your decision-making during pregnancy and postpartum.
4. Own your health and listen to your body
You know your body better than anyone else, so listen to it! If something does not feel right, speak up. If you are concerned, seek a second opinion. If you receive inadequate care, make a formal complaint.
Pay close attention to your body, your baby, and how you feel at all times - especially during postpartum. After birth, most women are sent home and told to return in six weeks. During this time, it’s especially important to advocate for yourself by calling your doctor immediately if something doesn’t feel right.
5. Feel free to breakup at anytime
Breakups are never fun, but making sure you’re getting the experience and care that you want and deserve is far more important. If your medical team is not making you feel heard, if you don’t trust their abilities, or if the chemistry is not there, it is more than okay to find someone else.
Remember: you should never have to settle when it comes to medical care.
These five ways to advocate for yourself during pregnancy and postpartum will help you prioritize the experience you want. The goal is for you to feel empowered, confident, and ready to advocate for yourself and baby if faced with tough decisions.
You can do this, mama!
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