The ‘Good Patient’ phenomenon

The idea of the ‘Good Patient’ phenomenon may ring a few bells when you hear Birthwares’ description of how we sometimes interact with our health-carers:

“It presents with the need for the pregnant mama to please her caregivers. Often she will undertake medical tests and procedures without understanding the need for or the value of the information provided by the tests. She will attend prenatal appointments promptly and regularly, but will leave her list of burning questions, unasked, in her pocket, for fear of taking up the time of her busy caregiver. She will accept any intervention or treatment offered to her, with the implicit understanding that her caregivers know best.”

I know I have certainly done this time and again despite knowing that I have burning questions about things that are concerning me. Even with a list in my hand I have felt compelled to keep quiet because someone is frantically trying to keep on top of their own schedule. 

However it is crucial that we ask questions and do so even when we feel pressured to move on.  Each pregnancy is different and new questions will arise even if you have already had a baby. As Birthwares suggests “bring your list of questions. Lose the niceties about the weather and how hot it is. Rattle off your questions instead.” So whether you are planning a vaginal birth or a caesarean stand your ground and ask those questions. It can help to take someone with you to every antenatal appointment, even if you think you are just there to wee in a bottle, you never know what you are going to be told or what you might want to ask and a second pair of ears can mean less gets missed.

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