Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unhappy with your Maternity Care ? File a Complaint !

The photo below depicts a heartwrenching scene in the play BIRTH by Karen Brody, in which a mother had a cesarean she didn't want and didn't believe she needed.She felt very sad and violated and angry, and very much alone.
Today, the web is all abuzz with talk about the sign I, and many other concerned professionals and consumers, posted yesterday that reflected the attitude of one maternity care provider. At best the sign denoted ignorance beyond words, and at the worst, it was just plain malpractice and abuse. Either way, I hope that women will leave them in droves.

So many women have confided in me about their unhappiness and even outrage at things that their caregivers said or did, during prenatal care, labor and birth, or postpartum. Many women today do not know where to turn when they need help holding a caregiver accountable for their unethical behavior. Today I have included a link from the Citizens for Midwifery page that gives you very practical tips on how to file a formal complaint if you feel you have been the victim of an abusive or incompetent caregiver.

Here is the link :

YOU have power as a consumer of maternity care !
Also, if you have not filled out the birth survery, please do so.
Here is the link. This confidential survey records details about mothers' feelings about their births, and the care they received. The information will soon be available to women so that they can make an informed decision about choosing a place to give birth. Invite all women who have birthed within the last three years to take the survey.

Here is the link:
Fill Out the Birth Survey

And if you are still emotionally raw from your experience, you are not alone. There are groups that can help. Tomorrow I will be posting about resources for emotional healing after a traumatic birth experience.

Today's Mantra:


  1. I had a c-section with my first child because he had a birth defect my doctor was uncomfortable about trying to deliver vaginally (gastroschesis). During the delivery, the doctors were so concerned about taking care of him that they just got and and out of me very quickly. (This is okay with me, after all, at the time it really WAS all about him.) A miscarriage and a full term pregnancy later, my doctor talked me into another c-section without attempting a VBAC, saying that anything could go wrong, and after my history, I deserved a healthy baby.

    Not having one successful labor and delivery was very difficult for me. It made me feel like less of a woman for a long time. (I have always had a great body for having children: 5'8" medium build, nice proportions.) It turns out that having a c-section was the best thing that could have happened because my pelvic opening was too small for delivery. I could never have given birth to my very average sized babies (both in the low 7 lb range). Even knowing this, I have struggled with feelings of disappointment that I never experienced a real labor and delivery. I never had as much as a Braxton Hicks pain with them. I somehow feel like it has cheapened the birth experience for me.

    I understand first hand how disappointing it is to have a c-section, but I am also very grateful to have had mine. Without them I would not have my two healthy children, and I would probably not even be here at all today. Having a c-section is not a good experience, but I think once a woman works through the feelings associated with it, they can look at the outcome - their healthy beautiful child, and remember that the end result is still the same: motherhood!

  2. Hi Mary,

    THE most important thing is that you are satisfied with your choices. That must have been such a scary time for you ! I am so glad that you have resolved your feelings and are enjoying motherhood. Babies are a great consolation prize !
    With regard to my post, however, the evidence clearly shows that VBAC is much safer for both mother and baby, and it is an option that should be available to every woman. Many women are not satisfied with the care that they received and should know that they have recourse to let their caregivers and other agencies know.