Your Rights

Whether you are planning to have a caesarean or attempting to avoid one you have rights. Knowing what these are can significantly alter the way you give birth and your experience in general. “Far too often ideology takes precedence over individual’s ‘needs’. The consequences can be unbelievably cruel.” says Maureen Treadwell of the Birth Trauma Association

Knowing how to interpret the information you are being given about your specific situation can play a significant role in determining the outcome of debates with practitioners, particularly where the advice is a suggestion rather than a direct need.

For example, knowing that failure to progress is not, on its own, a reason to agree to a caesarean if you really do not want one and that you may have the right to informed refusal can significantly alter the direction your birth takes.

In 2011, the UK NICE Guidelines were updated and now state that women who are basing their caesarean request either on the grounds of fear of childbirth (tokophobia) or on an informed assessment of risks/benefits, (even where there is no medical need), have the right to be supported in their birth choice.

This doesn’t mean a request will be automatically granted and in many countries such support of women’s rights has not been formalised to this extent. It is crucial therefore that you arm yourself appropriately. Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery covers all aspects of caesarean birth detailing not just the risks and benefits of such a birth versus vaginal delivery but also your rights, the many reasons why a caesarean may be recommended and how to manage negotiations. It also talks about how to try to avoid such an outcome if that is your preference and your rights in this regard.

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