This is a guest post by The Mom Project Community member Brandi Frazier. If you are a Community member with a unique story to share let us know.
Having a baby is arguably the most vulnerable yet empowering time of your life. Which means it’s extremely important to know how to advocate for yourself and have true confidence in your abilities.
💫 Remember: you are powerful, confident, and you know you and your body better than anyone. And you can advocate for yourself and use your voice at every opportunity throughout your pregnancy.
But sometimes, it’s not that easy. So for anyone wondering how, here are six simple ways that I’ve found helpful when it came to advocating for yourself during pregnancy and postpartum.
1. Do your research
Not kidding, look up everything you can about having a healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum experience. After you’ve done that, talk to other moms using resources such as Peanut about their experience. (Remember that every woman’s experience is different, of course, but this is a good place to start to gauge what pregnancy looks like.)
Next, check out the reviews online about your doctor and the hospital you will be delivering at. Investigate anything that concerns you - reach out to other women who have delivered there and ask lots of questions. The key here is to feel extremely confident and comfortable with your provider and the hospital.
2. Ask a million questions
If you have questions do not be afraid to ask them. Start by making a list of a minimum of three different questions to ask at each and every prenatal visit. Then, create a separate question list for labor and delivery that focuses on your birthing experience, what to expect, and how you would like it to look.
Don’t forget to make a birth plan, too. Although we all know things don’t always go as planned, a birth plan is a great guideline to have.This will let your medical team know your labor and delivery preferences when it comes to things like pain management, postpartum care, and newborn procedures.
3. Reference the B.A.R.
Nope, not the bar you’re thinking of, sorry! Wine and margaritas will have to wait. But when it comes to your care, medications, and procedures, always remember to run through the B.A.R:
B: Best option for my health and my baby. First consider what is the best option compared to other options that exist.
A: Alternatives available. Next you would look at what are the other alternatives to what is being suggested.
R: Risk if I decline the procedure, care or medication. Lastly, analyze the risk. What are the possible outcomes if you do not go forward or say yes.
The B.A.R. method is a great way to help you think through anything presented to you. It allows you to take information and truly analyze how you would like to proceed according to what’s best for you.
You must take all this information into consideration and then make a final decision. By using this method, you will feel more confident in your decision-making abilities during pregnancy and postpartum.
4. Own your health and listen to your body
You know your body better than anyone else, so listen to it. If something does not feel right, speak up. If you are concerned, seek a second opinion. If you receive inadequate care, make a formal complaint.
Pay close attention to your body, your baby and how you feel at all times - especially during postpartum. After birth, most women are sent home and told to return in six weeks. During this time, it is especially important to advocate for yourself by calling your doctor immediately if something doesn’t feel right.
5. Schedule your postpartum check-up appointment ASAP
There is no medical need to wait until six weeks to have your first post-baby check-up. Studies show that new moms benefit a great deal when they see their doctor sooner than the standard six weeks.
Not even two weeks after having my son, I felt that something was not right. I had a slight headache and I immediately checked my blood pressure home. The reading came back extremely high, and I went to my doctor immediately. After confirming that my blood pressure was indeed high, I was told to immediately go to the hospital. My doctor looked me in the face and said that if I had not listened to my body and come into the office today, I could have died from a seizure or stroke over the weekend. This is a perfect example of why waiting six weeks to see your doctor is too long!
6. Feel free to breakup at any time
Breakups are never fun but making sure you’re getting the experience and care that you want and deserve is far more important. If your medical team is not making you feel heard, if you don’t trust their abilities or if the chemistry is not there, it is more than okay to find someone else.
👉 Remember: you should never have to settle when it comes to medical care.
The 6 ways to advocate for yourself during pregnancy and postpartum is a great way to ensure that you have the experience you desire. The goal is for you to feel empowered, confident, and ready to advocate for yourself and baby if faced with tough decisions. You can do this!
Q&A with Brandi
How did you find The Mom Project? I first found The Mom Project on LinkedIn. After visiting the website and creating an account I went to connect on social media.
What motivated you to sign up? I loved how easy it was to narrow down my career interest and explore positions that align to what I was looking for!
What has been your favorite aspect, tool or part of The Mom Project? I absolutely love the resume creation tool. It's amazing!
Do you currently use the resources from The Mom Project? I enjoy reading the blog post and the exploring the Career Guidance section. I've learned so much over the past 8 months!
Brandi Frazier is a passionate high energy Mama, Wife and Master Educator who is on a mission to empower women and teach them how to advocate for themselves. After a traumatic post-pregnancy complication experience, Brandi created Bee Empowered Mama which is an organization that provides online resources, workshops and community for all Mamas to unite!