September 14, 2021
Series: Why I Advocate - Sharon Muza
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
Today, as part of the Series: Why I Advocate, I take the opportunity to share the top ten reasons that I advocate for families and help families to learn how to be strong self advocates for their own care. This is a weekly series leading up to the Lamaze International 2021 Virtual Advocacy Summit on September 27-29. The virtual summit is an opportunity to connect with your fellow Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators from around the world, who will be meeting to address the most critical and timely policy issues that affect prenatal care and childbirth outcomes. In this series, blog readers will have an opportunity to meet perinatal professionals and read their personal essays on why they advocate for evidence based care, improved policies and funding that impact birth outcomes. You can find the entire "Why I Advocate" Series here.
I have been advocating and helping families to become better advocates for their own perinatal care for almost 20 years. Here are my top ten reasons I believe this is important. Maybe your reasons are similar to mine?
1. Research shows that when birthing people feel a sense of control over their birthing experience, they are more satisfied with their experience overall. Being able to advocate for one's wishes helps make the process more positive.
2. It takes 17 years for best practice to move from "bench" (research) to "bedside" (practice), so it is important that families be able to ask for care that aligns with what we know to be optimal.
3. Systemic and institutional racism is the reason that BIPOC parents and their infants face significantly higher mortality and morbidity rates. Developing advocacy skills is critical to improve outcomes for Black and Brown families.
4. Many families have limited choice in facilities and providers. And the options available may not necessarily be those that provide the best care. Being able to advocate for one's needs and care is important.
5. A sense of achievement and a positive birthing experience is a great way to start parenting off right! Advocacy skills help create that positive experience to launch into caring for a newborn.
6. Parents will need to advocate for their children, and that advocacy starts in utero! Using advocacy skills for a child will be something that is called into practice many, many times in the years ahead.
7. Birth plans change. No one knows that better than perinatal professionals. If situations develop during intrapartum that require parents to shift expectations and desires, being able to ask the questions they need to make the best decisions in the moment is going to be necessary.
8. Practice makes perfect! Practicing self advocacy in a childbirth class can be fun, offer a safe environment and create an opportunity for parents to feel confident that they CAN do advocate for themselves and their families when necessary.
9. Parents may have great relationships with their main provider during their pregnancy care, but there is often a different provider who is supporting them during labor and birth. This provider may not be on the same page as the primary midwife or doctor was, with the parents' desires. Self-advocacy skills are key!
10. It is so much fun as an educator to run these advocacy building skills in a childbirth class. I love it!
TagsChildbirth education Lamaze International Advocacy Sharon Muza Advocacy Summit 2021 Series: Why I Advocate Why I Advocate