I was unaware that I was able to participate in my health care, until I became pregnant and under the care of some amazing midwives. They empowered my husband and I, by providing information about each medical procedure and/or test. We went over the pros and cons to each, and we were responsible for deciding if we were going to do the test or not. I have to admit that this was sometimes difficult, but at the end of my care with the midwives, I knew that I was an active participant in all the health care decsions.
In my practice, most of my clients are under the care of western doctors during their pregnancy. Most doctors run tests as a standard protocol regardless of your risk factors, history, and personal opinion. Our medical system is overwhelmed at best, so these protocols have been established to ensure that everything and everyone has been accounted for. However, the tests may not all be necessary. It is your responsibility to participate in your health care, become educated and ask questions.
An example of a procedure that is standard practice, is the use of erythromycin eye ointment. The ointment is placed immediately into baby’s eyes upon upon entry into this world. It is used prophylactically to prevent a gonorrhea or Chlamydia infection in the new born eyes, preventing or reducing blindness. Women are routinely tested for these diseases, however no test is 100% reliable, and women may be re infected after the testing period. The ointment may blur the baby’s vision and can affect the immediate bonding with the parents. However, if you and your partner are confident that neither have these sexually transmitted diseases, then the ointment may be unnecessary. The parents are then responsible to watch for any redness, swelling or discharge.
This may be one procedure you and your partner give a little extra thought to, weighing the responsibilities of careful observation against the intrusiveness of the treatment.
Be well, be informed and be involved.