safe motherhood


The relationship with your carers

Many of us see medical professionals as 'the experts' and feel we can't question what they say, but remember, you're the expert on your own wishes, feelings and needs.

Research shows that women feel more positive if they've fully taken part in making decisions about their care. Here are some suggestions that might help if:

You don't understand what's being said to you
• Ask for it to be explained. Keep asking until you're able to repeat what's been said to you in your own words. Then ask if what you've said is right.

You feel 'small' and powerless talking to medical professionals
• Help yourself feel more confident by treating them as your equal. Use their name (if they use your first name, use theirs). Get on to the same level (sit up if you've been lying down, or ask them to sit if they've been standing). If you've taken any clothes off, cover yourself up. Remember that the person you're talking to is just a human being, like you.

You don't know whether or not you want to agree to something that's being suggested
• Ask 'BRAN' - what are the benefits of what's being suggested? What are the risks attached to it? Are there any alternatives? What would happen if you did nothing?
• Play for time. Ask if you really need to make a decision immediately. What would happen if you left it for a while?

You don't want to agree to something that's being suggested to you
• Say that you appreciate their point of view, but repeat your own. Acknowledge that you understand the possible consequences of your decision.

• Express your point of view calmly and in a friendly way, using 'I' statements, for example: 'I would rather not because...'
• Be prepared to compromise if you're been given new information that makes you change your mind.