There is a great post here by a woman fed up with lack of patient rights when it comes to childbirth... I can't help but agree. How can it be that we have the right to refuse treatment for illnesses but not unnecessary over-treatments (in some hospitals) for a naturally occurring event such as childbirth?
I am not speaking for all women, but, as a populous, we are enabling our medical system to put these strictures, these regulations, on our bodies and birth. I am not talking about medically necessary cesareans... but about a growing number of hospitals that are 'disallowing' VBACS or optional epidurals (you heard that right - a growing number of hospitals** requiring epidurals for 1st time moms, moms of multiples, and as a term of allowing a trial of labor for VBACs) with no good reason.
My body, my birth, MY choice.
**added for clarification: I have attended 2 births in Tennessee (same hospital both times) that the nursing staff, as well as the practitioners repeatedly stated "we pretty much require first time moms to have epidurals in place because we don't know if you are going to a) be able to stand the pain and b) be one of the 1/3 that need surgery." Nursing staff even went so far at one of those births to state "if you want to have no medication, your doctor has to let us know, otherwise you get an epidural at 4cms".
In addition to this I have spoken to scores of women whose spouses were in the Army, Navy, or Marines that gave birth on base. Frighteningly, many stated that they were forced to have epidural medication. None of these women knew each other. (And, on another hand, other women that I have spoken to who have given birth on bases have been refused medication).
Finally, we all know women, I am sure, that have 'fired' their doctors for saying that they had to have an epidural to have their twins vaginally or to have a trial of labor for VBAC.
Sorry no linky for this stat, simply word of mouth and personal experience... Bottom line, many medical facilities are toeing the line when it comes to our rights.