Empowerment in choice

Having the ability and access to make choices and informed decisions during pregnancy and birth are vital components in the wellbeing of a mother and child.

17 Sep 2021

For many women, this means planning an interventional birth, like a Caesarean section (C-Section).

This can be for a wide range of different medical or safety reasons such as carrying more than one child, the baby is in an abnormal position, the placenta is covering part of the cervix and many more.

For Murdoch patient Kimberley, this was a choice made from the beginning of her second pregnancy after experiencing placenta previa during her first pregnancy.

Placenta previa occurs when a baby's placenta partially or totally covers the mother's cervix and can cause severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery.

"During my first pregnancy I had placenta previa, which meant I needed to have an emergency caesarean at 36 weeks pregnant,"

"It was a scary time and despite knowing from early on in the pregnancy that I would need a caesarean, I wasn't prepared for the emergency delivery, which was quite a challenging and confronting experience,"

When Kimberley fell pregnant with her second child, it was important for her to make the decision from the start to have a C-Section delivery.

"It was important for me to be able to prepare myself adequately before the birth of my second child. The experience of delivering my first child was so important in this process and was an important part of my decision to plan for a caesarean in my second pregnancy, after experiencing a complicated first pregnancy," 

"Feeling empowered to make this choice meant I knew what to expect and how to approach the delivery which was so important in how both my husband I prepared for the birth,"

Having an Obstetrician that aligns with a mother's wishes and supports them in making informed decisions is a fundamental aspect in an empowered pregnancy.

"There was never a moment of negativity or judgement about choosing to have a caesarean  and we consistently had open, informed conversations about our options,"

"I was supported throughout the entire process and gratefully had an uneventful, uncomplicated second pregnancy."

Kimberley pictured with her husband and two boys.

Not only was a C-section planned for Kimberley and her baby's safety, it was also important in terms of her wellbeing throughout the pregnancy.

"Making an empowered and informed decision was vital to my wellbeing and overall pregnancy experience. It enabled me to have a clear mind in knowing exactly what to expect as I had experienced it before. I even had a moment of mindfulness during the epidural injection, where I could focus and prepare for the delivery,"

"I am grateful I had access to a safe and informed birth with exceptional obstetric and midwifery care that was truly patient focused."

Access rates for safe delivery in Australia is among the highest in the world, so for someone experiencing pregnancy complications, ability to have a safe, interventional birth is the norm.

This level of healthcare is unfortunately not something all women around the world have access to.

This year marks the third annual World Patient Safety Day which was established to enhance global understanding of patient safety, particularly during childbirth.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) urges people to "Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!" with this year's theme being "Safe maternal and newborn care."

According to WHO, approximately 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and around 6700 newborns die every day around the world.

Fortunately, many of these deaths are avoidable through the provision of safe and quality care by skilled health professionals working in supportive environments, which will be achieved through global communication and the establishment of comprehensive health systems.

To find out more about World Patient safety day, visit the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Read about what Murdoch does to keep mothers and babies safe throughout their pregnancy journey.