Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Consumer Driven Choices

As  with so many things in our free society, what we "get" from our healthcare providers in terms of services is consumer driven. That means that we actually do get a say in how we choose to be treated by those providers. It also means that we have options open to us as consumers in general. We get to choose whether we want to breast- feed or bottle- feed. We get to choose cloth diapers or disposables. We even get to choose banking our own baby's stem cells and encapsulating our own placentas for our personal use. Lots of choices.

There is a choice for mothers who have had previous cesarean sections as well. Would we like to have another "section" or would we like the opportunity to choose  a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean section? But this is a choice that is very difficult to make especially since so many providers recommend surgery again and some even refuse to allow their clients a trial for vaginal delivery. Their reasons are sometimes quite specific to you and sometimes not so much.

There is a resource available to consumers to help you decide what is best for you to consider and request, when making this very difficult decision. In 2010, the National Institutes of Health published a Consensus Development Conference Statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. This panel concluded that VBAC ( vaginal birth after cesarean section ) was indeed a "reasonable option" for most women. This consensus may be difficult for some of us to interpret so an independent group of maternity care experts came together to create and publish a free online resource guide to address the most common questions that relevant consumers have about their birth options.

This entire discussion is consumer driven. Because women are being proactive about their true choices, the NIH made it possible for mothers, doctors, nurses and nurse- midwives and birth advocates of all kinds to attend the conference to voice their questions and concerns and actually influence the outcome of the conference. So, medical consumers can and will continue to advocate for themselves. And that is a victory. We have choices. Maybe not legally binding, however the NIH does conclude that it is "reasonable to expect that the panel will be able to give clinical guidance" to healthcare providers.

You may access the Woman's Guide to VBAC online to advocate for yourself after reviewing questions about VBAC and come to your own conclusions about reasonable choices for you to examine with your own providers. Getting what you think you want must be researched and reasonable. Go for it.