Doctors need to communicate better about the risks associated with childbirth if women are to fully exercise their right to informed consent.
That was the message from a group of doctors, lawyers, campaigners and mothers at a seminar on women’s rights in healthcare at Farringdon’s Goldsmiths’ Centre on Thursday.
Most natural births go smoothly and most medical professionals do their best to support their patients, the group heard.
But communication failures can result in women enduring procedures they do not want or understand.
“Women need to be informed about all the possible scenarios when they go into birth,” said Suzanne White, a medical negligence solicitor at Clerkenwell firm Leigh Day, who organised the seminar.
“Things can go wrong and they should be made aware of that.”
According to the UK’s Birth Trauma Association, more than 200,000 women in the UK live with some level of trauma from giving birth.
The sensitivity of the context and the fact that people think childbirth is supposed to be a natural, easy and happy event, make traumatic birth injuries an isolating and embarrassing experience, say campaigners.
Physical damage to the mother can have lifelong impacts on their parenting, relationship and mental health.
Jenny Tighe, 46, was left in that position after she gave birth to her daughter nine years ago.
Despite having written an explicit birth plan…
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