Why Self Advocacy During Pregnancy is Important
By Charlie Daily
Pregnancy is such an amazing time for a woman. Whether it is your first pregnancy or your third, each pregnancy is different. During this time it is important that you advocate for you and your baby before and after delivery. It is also very important that you pick a doctor that will listen to your needs and concerns. So many women have lost their baby and their lives because their concerns went unnoticed or ignored. Although your doctor may have went to school and received the proper medical training, do not disregard your gut feeling about your body. You are your child’s protector. Do not let anyone make you feel as though you are crazy or too worrisome because you have concerns during your pregnancy. Self advocacy during pregnancy is so important because it not doing so may be a life or death decision.
This post is about advocate for yourself.
Listen to Your Body
During pregnancy your body will go through countless changes. From sore breast, cravings, aches and pains, you will experience the highs and lows of pregnancy. However, if you are having a new pain or not quite feeling yourself, it is important that you alert your OBGYN or medical professional immediately. Do not dismiss an unfamiliar symptom, especially spotting or little to no movement from your baby. Some women lose their baby mid to late pregnancy because of a medical condition called incompetent cervix. This condition causes preterm labor and can be fatal for your unborn child.Know your body and voice your concerns. There are other medical issues that could put in and your baby at risk so its important you stay in tune with your body.
Bond With Your Baby
Depending on how many time you have been pregnant will determine when you will feel your baby move or kick for the first time. If this is your first time being pregnant, you should be able to feel your baby kick around sixteen weeks. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you can feel your baby kick as early as twelve weeks. Get to know your baby and what makes them active. For example if you are in constant motion, this may rock your baby to sleep and you will feel less movement. If you are lying down or sitting, you will feel your baby move more. However, if your baby is no longer following their normal routine, make sure you do a kick count. Get into a comfortable position and count your baby’s movements. You should feel your baby kick at least ten times per hour. It is also important to rub your belly, sing, and talk to your baby. Doing so will strengthen your bond and it will increase the interaction between you and your baby.
Choosing A Doctor
Picking a doctor is so important and crucial for you and your baby’s health. Do your research on your OBGYN before choosing them to deliver your baby. Although it may not seem like it, you are hiring your doctor to do a very important task. Check their background and qualifications to ensure they can complete the task of taking care of you and delivering your child. If your doctor is dismissing your concerns or needs, find a new doctor immediately. Your doctor is there for your health and benefit. If they are choosing not to investigate your concerns, they are putting you and your baby in danger. This is where you must advocate for yourself no matter their opinion or reassurance. If you feel like something is wrong, go to the emergency room immediately and demand that your concerns be taken seriously. It is very easy for a pregnancy to go from being completely healthy to an eminent health crisis. A doctor dismissing your concerns can have a negative effect on your pregnancy. Most concerns can be confirmed by an exam, ultrasound, or blood or urine sample. If your doctor feels as though you do not need testing but your gut says otherwise, fight for it until you get it. It is better to have testing done and there is no issue than for it to go unnoticed.
Tips on How to Advocate For Yourself
If you ever feel like you are not getting the medical attention you need, please report it. So many woman die during pregnancy and child labor because their concerns were intentionally ignored. Black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth. Most of the time these death could have been prevented if the woman’s concerns were addressed promptly. Here are some tips on how to advocate for yourself.
- Be Assertive.
- Do not take no for answer.
- Do not dismiss your concerns.
- Have a great support system.
- Consider getting a doula
- Stay informed about your pregnancy and its progression.