How to advocate in the medical setting.
Bring someone with you.
Do your research on the physician, NP, PA or whomever you are seeing. It would be good to know before hand if they are a good fit for you. Not only that make sure you like the office staff and any partners they have in their practice that might also be in contact with you.
Get a second opinion. Your practitioner should not be offended by this. They should be fine with having another set of eyes on the situation or the fact you want to maybe see if someone is a better fit.
Are you a part of a team or does it seem one sided. The healthcare team- includes the most important person- the patient! If you aren’t feeling heard- get a patient advocate, a family member or change practices. Find someone in the hospital that will listen and voice your concerns.
Regarding ob care. You need to like and know everyone that can be on call for your birth.
Questions to ask:
Will you let me labor naturally? For how long? What if my water breaks? Can I walk the hospital? Can I be allowed to eat? Can I birth in any position I would like? Can I have my doula there? Do I need an IV or can I have a saline lock? What happens if I refuse a medication? Can we do delayed cord clamping? Skin to skin directly after? How do you close a c section? All the layers? (This is important if you want a Vbac- some obs don’t close all the layers because the research says it doesn’t make a big difference but I know obs that say it’s best care to suture all the layers- it takes longer)
Also, ask around to see which L and D hospital nurses get the best reviews. When you arrive at the hospital tell the nurse you want a natural labor and ask if they can support you, they might switch with another nurse on staff.
In the end your medical experience might not be ideal, however you can set the mood and tone by being in control and advocating for yourself (or have an advocate there).
What is the best way to do this? Practice scenarios with a partner, a doula or out loud with yourself. This way you will be more calm with the situations that might come up and also be more comfortable. This can also work for example with refusing certain things at a peds office. Be prepared, practice and stay firm.
In the end please realize most doctors want the best for you, yes we are human, and we care deeply.