CAMPAIGN TO STOP MATERNITY ABUSE:
We've got to aim higher when it comes to maternity care; to resist, call-out, expose, & report poor care with a zero tolerance attitude
wherever we see it. -
"Any intervention undertaken in childbirth without consent, explanation & kindness it ABUSE.
All staff need to 'STOP - ask, explain & comfort."
If Doctors & Midwives are not adhering to this it should be a disciplinary
matter as the damage it can cause to woman when these conditions are missing can be utterly devastating.
We think the best way to see how important consent & emotional care is - is to turn it on its head &
to imagine how a woman would feel if she was never asked for consent & it was totally missing.
This can apply to telling her she has to stay in one position for monitoring, breaking waters, vaginal exams,
putting a woman on a drip, her feet put in stirrups, food & drink removed, a scalp test, episiotomy, putting on a monitor, forceps, ventouse, C Section, manual removal of placenta, touching a woman's breast to help with breastfeeding etc.
Now imagine if that woman said 'but I don't want that' & the doctor said 'oh it will be over soon just lie still.' Or imagine the midwife or doctor just started cutting her or putting her on a drip or putting her hand inside her without
any warning at all causing severe pain, distrust, & totally abusing the balance of power. Then imagine if that woman said I want you to stop, you're hurting me' & the doctor or midwife replied now don't make a fuss, nearly finished.' That is assault.
That is abuse.
Obviously in very acute emergencies things just have to happen to save lives, but in the vast majority of circumstances there is always a little time for consent, explanation & kindness. When
it is missing that's when a woman is at high risk of developing PTSD & Birth Trauma.
The vast majority of birth trauma cases involve women who feel
out of control, that they don't matter, feeling like they're not being listened to, not being given explanation of what was happening, things being done to them that they really didn't want to happen, feeling powerless, not offered any reassurance, feeling
afraid for their life, not being treated with respect & kindness privacy & dignity, & basically POOR COMMUNICATION!
A HUGE amount of birth trauma is avoidable,
that is the travesty! It's so poorly understood by many health professionals. Often staff don't realise that the consequences of this mistreatment can last for years, can harm the bond between Mum & baby, can result in flashbacks & nightmares &
phobias, can result in fearful hyper-vigilance & mistrust, can result in avoidance of health checks, can limit the size of families, can make a woman feel worthless & depressed, can put huge pressure on relationships even sometimes the break up of
relationships, & can even lead to suicidal thoughts (or worse.)
It might seem incredible that this could be the outcome... but think of how many women feel after rape & you will soon see the parallels.
Often those members of staff who are causing harm do not see the outcome of their actions because women often don't REPORT it, or they're passed to another health professional & treated for their symptoms
without addressing the cause.
There needs to be more education for all doctors, midwives & parents to be. Just because a woman walks through the door of a hospital or lets a midwife in through her own front
door does not mean that she surrenders all power, control, decision making & rights.
It's time for this to STOP.