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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

My doctor won't let me...

By November 24, 2012

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Doctor and Woman

I've been mulling around this phrase for awhile now, trying to figure out how to talk about it, "My doctor won't let me..." I heard it recently from someone in a childbirth class I was teaching in regard to letting the baby come when labor started on its own. The sad fact is that this isn't the first time I've heard it uttered, nor is it the most recent, nor will it be the last. The Guggie Daily talked about this today in terms of a controlling birth attendant.

While most of us don't want to think of the person that we've hired to help us have our baby as controlling, the sad fact is that most of the birth attendants out there, doctors and midwives, can behave this way. And we let them.

Yes, we actively hire people to boss us around. Can you imagine if our car mechanic talked to us that way? "I might let you change the air filter, but do you really know how long it's been since you've changed it?"

The grocer: "Do you need more milk and bread? Didn't you just buy some last week?"

The baker: "Chocolate cake? I don't care if it's the favorite in your family, we only serve vanilla around here, with orange filling."

It may sound really over done and goofy, but essentially it's the same concept. But wait, you say, "We're hiring someone who has expertise in assuring our safety, shouldn't we listen to what they say and then do it?"

Absolutely, if what they are saying is evidence based, individualized and well thought through. I think when you start hearing things like this, it ceases to apply:

  • "I always induce everyone who we think has a big baby."
  • "No one goes past 40 weeks in this practice."
  • "But we've always done it this way and it's fine, no matter what the research says."

Now, before you think I'm telling you to revolt and fire your practitioner, I'm not (Though you could decide that was in your best interest.). What I am saying is try to find someone who is supportive of you being a partner in your care. Ideally this happens when you choose your practitioner early on, before you're pregnant or just after. You find someone who can show you what the evidence says, help you weigh options that are best for you and pertain to you and your baby, as well as someone who can adequately provide that safety net without it being a one size fits all.

If you have a lot of issues with your practitioner, there are things you can do:

  1. Talk to them and explain what's important to you and why.
  2. Share your research with them.
  3. Discuss alternatives and options with them that help satisfy both of you.
  4. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion.

What won't your doctor let you do? (And what are you going to do about it?)

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