"Birth Rape" Feeling disempowered during birth

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
Member
5697 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I haven’t given birth yet but I think that this is a valid concern and fear. based on friends stories, the best thing you can do is educate yourself, have a birth plan, and have a provider or group of providers that you trust. If you want to try natural you may want to choose a midwife if they are covered. Or even just paying for a doula who can advocate for you and help you through. Most stories I hear of people who have this feeling about their births occurred because they either didn’t educate themselves and later said “if the nurse had told me then I would have blank” or, had no one to advocate for them. Or both. 

And birth rape is an awful term. I’m not a fan!

Post # 4
Member
1214 posts
Bumble bee

I told myself that I could handle anything since I was going home with a wonderful gift.  I kept saying, it will all be over in 24 hours and I’ll get to leave that place with a beautiful baby.  It made it seem like it was nothing compared to those who were there for less fortunate reasons.

Post # 5
Member
5228 posts
Bee Keeper

@tampalove35:  We actually got lost on the way to the hospital, LOL(I’d not been there before and was told, “Don’t worry, I know where I’m going” when a dry run was suggested). I was already 7 cm dilated when we got there. Honestly, I was surprised by how far along I was. It was just starting to get really uncomfortable when we got there. Labor wasn’t fun, but it felt totally natural.

I would just communicate your concerns as soon as you get to the hospital. Tell them you would like as few staff people as possible assisting you. Birthing suites have come a long way from when I had my daughter. Most of them look like bed and breakfast suites! It won’t be a home birth, but it won’t feel like a steril hospital setting either.

On a side note, I’m really surprised your insurance won’t cover home birth. I’d think it would be so much cheaper for them than a hospital.

Post # 6
Member
7271 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

My nurses and doctors were supportive of the things that were important to me. I was induced, and I still felt like what I wanted was important to them. My nurse asked me if I had certain thigs that I wanted during labor and delivery. The only things I really wanted were to wait until I was at least 5 cm to get the epidural, and to have skin on skin contact after birth. They never pushed me into anything, and my nurse really advocated for me to get the epidural ASAP when I was ready (they originally said I’d have to wait 20 minutes, but she found someone who could come in within 5 minutes…a HUGE difference when you’re having labor pains!). I was also able to have skin on skin contact immediately after she was born, even though she was stunned from birth and having the cord wrapped around her neck. They let me have skin on skin while we waited for the peds team came in, and then we were able to continue after they got her crying. I am very happy with how my birthing experience turned out.

 

Post # 7
Member
898 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@tampalove35:  I would look into finding a midwife that will deliver in a hospital so your insurance will cover it. In general they are MUCH more likely to comply with your wishes and be much more respectful of the natural progression of labor and delivery.

Post # 8
Member
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Will your insurance cover a birthing center?

Post # 9
Member
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think the term is completely foolish and inaccurate. I get where they might be coming from but to generalize tht all doctors come from a place of power and control when doing those things is ridiculous! The vast majority I believe do what they do to avoid litigation in the event something goes wrong. In our sue happy society docs are completely frightened (rightfully so) of being sued so they do whatever they need to protect you and your baby from harm but also to protect themselves. OBGYN has one of if not the highest rates of med mal, do their fears are not unfounded And I really don’t blame them. They are doctors and you are a patient for a reason. Not saying all doctors are the end all be all and you shouldn’t make your preferences known and get what you want when possible, but if you don’t value a doctors expertise and think you know better, then you should explore other methods of childbirth. 

 

 

 

Post # 10
Member
1395 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Meh, I experienced a lot of the interventions defined as ‘birth rape’, and I can tell you it wasn’t a horrible experience, most certainly not even close to rape. Terrible term, IMO. I wish I would have trusted my doctors and midwives earlier (all of whom were extremely respectful and let me make the call on things) in the birth process instead of gunning ahead for my birth plan, because it would have saved my daughter some major trauma and pain in the birth process. As it was, she came out limp and exhausted with a face that was bruised and swollen beyond recognition because I’d insisted on a natural delivery when the doctor told me a c-section was advisable due to her brow presentation. I ended up with an EMCS anyway after a grueling 33.5 hours of labour, all kinds off attempts at internal version and assisted delivery (at my request, because I wanted to avoid a section), and an hour of pushing. It meant that she ended up spending time in the NICU (the extreme bruising made it very hard for her to get over her jaundice) and we all had a longer recovery time. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

I agree that women should be respected in their birth choices, and certainly it goes without saying that women’s dignity should be preserved by whatever means possible, particularly during such an intimate and personal process as birth. However, I also think women are partially to blame for losing the respect of their care providers when so many think they know best after 10 hours of internet research. What they’re calling ‘abuse’ is often just a doctor or midwife telling a woman what is best for her and the baby (or performing a procedure that they deem necessary based on their many years of education and experience). That’s not abuse, IMO–that’s just conscientious doctoring. Telling someone, “I’m right, you’re wrong” isn’t abuse if it’s the truth. It’s not just about power and control, it’s about doctors feeling frustrated because their hard-earned expertise is being blatantly ignored when they’re trying their best to do a good job, and it’s about women perceiving a power inequality based on the false assumption that both parties possess the same amount of knowledge about what’s happening. For me, anyway, if they know more, then they have more say in what happens–that’s their job, to make sure the baby arrives safely. Just because it’s my body doesn’t mean I know more about it than someone who has gone to school for 10 years to learn about what’s going on during the birth process. I’m sure there are instances of doctors and midwives being mean idiots, but I honestly don’t think that’s even close to being the norm. At least, not here in the UK.

Post # 11
Member
1395 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Here’s an interesting article that’s sort-of (at least in my opinion) related–it’s called ‘The death of expertise’. Here’s a quote:

“Yes, it’s true that experts can make mistakes, as disasters from thalidomide to the Challenger explosion tragically remind us. But mostly, experts have a pretty good batting average compared to laymen: doctors, whatever their errors, seem to do better with most illnesses than faith healers or your Aunt Ginny and her special chicken gut poultice. To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly.”

http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/

Post # 13
Member
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

@tampalove35:  Have you considered a birthing center attached to a hospital? You get to work with midwives (who don’t like doing cervical exams or IVs), but still have the safety net of the hospital.

Though I have to say, as another person who needed to be held down for shots, I actually don’t mind cervical exams. I’ve only had one (38w) that I was allowed to turn down. But I was SO DONE with being pregnant, that I was excited to see if I was dilated!

Post # 14
Member
557 posts
Busy bee

EH, I think that is a horrible term. I hate shots, but cervical exams don’t bother me at all. I have a female doctor that I have been seeing since I was 16 and I totally trust her. I think if someone is that concerned over what their doctor is doing down there and not trusting of their expertise then maybe they need to find a different doctor. Doctors are not one size fits all.

Post # 15
Member
2184 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium

It is critical to find a doctor you do trust. That’s how I got through my birth not feeling pressured at all. My OBs knew me and how I wanted to birth. They respected and encouraged me. I ended up needing a csection (you can read my birth story for info), but I felt it was my choice. I still participated in every aspect of the birth of my doctor. 

I truly believe the right doctor for you is the most important piece, with clear communication. Between you two. 

I took a prenatal yoga class that included childbirth education, and that’s where I learned all of my questions to ask. Things like….. How  any days past your due date will they allow you before inducing? Will they let your bishop score influence the induction plan? Will they allow you to labor with intermittent monitoring, or wireless monitoring, so long as you both are doing well? That will allow you to labor in any position. Ask if they encourage natural births. Ask that they let you tear rather give an episiotomy. You can request fewer cervucal checks. My OB does it every 2 hours, and only the OB, but I asked the nurse to check me when I was deciding about an epidural when I wasn’t progressing well. All of these questions and more really helped me. 

It’s cliche, but I experienced it… My mantra went from please let me have a natural birth to all I want is a healthy baby. You’ll get through it, and you’ll love the outcome. 

Post # 16
Member
1540 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think, like others have said, the most important thing is to find a doctor and hospital that you trust.  Because I have done my research before hand, I do not have a fear of “birth rape”.  I know that my doctor will respect my wishes, but on the other hand, he will do whatever he needs to do to protect me and my baby.  I have a friend who works in a level III NICU, and she tells me all the time about the unnecessary babies in the NICU that are there only because a mother did not want to deviate from her birth plan.  I think it is important to make your wishes known, but when push comes to shove, what we read on the internet does not give us our MD.   I think sometimes the wealth of information we have access to can hurt us.  

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