10.09.2013

Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor - a principle in commerce: the buyer assumes the risk. Latin for, Let the buyer beware. A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are "as is," or subject to all defects. When a sale is subject to this warning the purchaser assumes the risk that the product might be either defective or unsuitable to his or her needs. The basic premise that the buyer buys at his/her own risk and therefore should examine and test a product himself/herself for obvious defects and imperfections.
Let the buyer beware, for (s)he assumes all risk. During your childbearing years, it is so acutely important to understand this concept.

There are a set of 'rules' and expectations that every birthing place has in place. These outline how your
place of birth expects you to behave and what they expect you to consent to. Of course, you can decline any set of policies, protocols, or expectations/interventions, but at what cost? Your provider can (and many do) 'make you pay' for bucking their authority and rules.

If you want low lights, candles, a water birth, hand-held dopplers for monitoring intermittently, and a birth team that speaks in hushed tones and helps you birth in any position you want, you probably shouldn't attempt to achieve that in a florescent-lit hospital, where they have only showers, a strict policy against water birth, no dopplers on the floor, and an OB and nurse who see 'a handful' of natural births in any given year.

 Likewise, if your provider uses such terminology as "I don't normally let my patients...", "I don't do ____", or "I don't work with doulas", guess what? They are not looking out for your best interests, they are looking out for themselves and their policies to be upheld. This is saying nothing of their personality, only of their practices.

I have spoken to many women whose providers state that, in order to continue in their care, they must consent to certain tests or procedures. Again, this is not informed consent, this is coercion. Buyer beware - if they cannot respect your autonomy to make decisions for your own healthcare during pregnancy, how can you hope/believe that they will when you are in as vulnerable state as labor and birth?

Buyer beware - understand the policies and protocols of your place of birth and your provider prior to purchasing their package of goods.

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