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Understanding obstetric risk and who's best interest is it really in?

The journey through pregnancy and childbirth is undoubtedly one of the most transformative and vulnerable periods in a person’s life. In the UK, we are fortunate to have access to a maternity healthcare system and skilled professionals who are dedicated to ensuring the well-being of both parent & baby.

However, amidst the backdrop of medical advancements and well-intentioned interventions, it's essential to pause and reflect on a thought-provoking question: What if the very people tasked with keeping you and your baby safe had actually put you at risk?

The Paradox of Intervention

Medical interventions in maternity care, such as caesarean sections, inductions, or assisted deliveries, are often essential and life-saving procedures. These interventions have undoubtedly saved lives and are crucial components of modern obstetrics. However, like any medical intervention, they come with their set of risks and potential complications.

Reflecting on the Balance of Risks

While the primary goal of medical professionals is to ensure the safety and well-being of both parent and baby, it's essential to acknowledge that no intervention is without risk. You have the right to be informed, involved, and empowered in your maternity care journey.

When discussing associated risks, it's essential to ask for precise figures, such as the number per 100 or 1000 individuals. It's crucial to recognise that presenting risk can be influenced to support a particular narrative. For instance, stating that a risk has doubled or increased by 50% may strongly advocate for a specific intervention. However, when examining the actual figures, the perspective may shift. For example, if a risk starts at 0.3% and doubles to 0.6%, it remains relatively low despite a 50% increase. Conversely, focusing on the positive outcome, you have a 99.4% chance of not experiencing the event in question. You therefore need to way that up against the risks associated with the intervention being suggested to make a truely informed decision.


Informed Consent: It's vital to ensure that any intervention or procedure is thoroughly discussed, and informed consent is obtained. This includes understanding the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives to the proposed intervention.

Shared Decision-Making: Engage in open communication with your healthcare provider and actively participate in decisions about your care. Your voice matters, and your preferences should be respected.

Questions to ask:

What are the potential risks and benefits of the proposed intervention?

Are there alternative approaches or options available?

How does this intervention align with my birth preferences and values?

Trusting Your Instincts and Seeking Support

As you navigate the complexities of maternity care, trust in your instincts and seek support from trusted healthcare providers, your doula, family & friends. Remember that you are the expert on your body and your baby, and your voice deserves to be heard and respected.


The journey through pregnancy and new parenthood is a profound and transformative experience filled with moments of joy, anticipation, and, at times, uncertainty. As pregnant It is essential to approach your maternity care with curiosity, empowerment, and informed decision-making. By fostering open communication, advocating for your preferences, and trusting your instincts, you can navigate the complexities of maternity care with confidence and resilience. Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and your well-being and that of your baby are paramount.

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