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Ep 16// Obstetric Violence & Birth Trauma with Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah is a chiropractic physician, home birth advocate, and mother of two. She became entrenched in the birth world after a traumatic, unnecessary cesarean led her to have a subsequent, healing freebirth. She is an advocate for bodily autonomy and human rights in childbirth, and believes that you deserve to be in charge and have a birth that transforms you. Through her work, she hopes to help prevent others from having traumatic birth experiences.

In this episode, Dr. Sarah and I talked about obstetric abuse - physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse; bullying, coercion, purposefully leaving out information, humiliation and/or assault. I believe this is a cultural issue, and sometimes providers believe they are helping instead of abusing, and moms can feel hopeless and that birth is dangerous, and they hand over all power to their provider.

Some common examples of obstetric abuse:

-Touching of body parts without asking permission

-Not giving options (i.e. implying that the glucose test is mandatory when it is not)

-Asking the same questions over and over until mom gives in

Consent is NOT "I'm going to check your cervix."

Consent IS "is it alright if I check your cervix?"

Homebirth is safe for the majority of women, and home midwifery care is gentle and respectful. But each woman has the right to choose where she births. So, what can you do to navigate the system if you are planning a natural hospital birth?

1. Be educated - make a birth plan! Understand the options you will have to choose from, be educated on the risks and benefits, be confident in your decisions. Nurses and OB's will likely disregard your birth plan...but still make it for YOU!

2. Hire a doula - someone who knows the birth world and can help keep you comfortable and remind you of your wishes/options

3. Purposefully do things that set you apart from the system - one example is not wearing a hospital gown (it says, "I have a face and a name, I am in control!")

Your birth will impact your life forever. If you have experienced obstetric abuse, know that you're not alone. You are strong and capable and your story doesn't end there!


Connect with Dr. Sarah:

IG: @birthuprising

FB: Birth Uprising, The Autonomous Birth Project

FREEBIE: Top 5 Things Every Pregnant Mom Needs To Know:

Purchase the Intuitive Mama’s Essentials, the basics every mom should know, including 15 questions to ask your provider, tips on avoiding an episiotomy, birth affirmations and a birth plan template:

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IG: @empoweredbirthpodcast

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