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8 tips to help maternity patients advocate for themselves in delivery room

CBC News spoke to Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, about how maternity patients can advocate for themselves during childbirth.

Chris Power of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute offers her advice

CBC News spoke to Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, about how maternity patients can advocate for themselves during their labour and delivery. Here are her tips:

Be informed

Do your research and be informed in order to ask the right questions.

Be proactive

Try to have conversations ahead of time to make sure care providers understand your wishes. "Good communication is good for your health," Power says. Write your questions down. Keep a diary of them when you are going to appointments.

Ask questions

Don't assume your care provider knows best and just go along with everything they say. Ask why things are happening and what the outcomes will be. "You should understand what is being done to you and why it is being done," Power says.

Speak up

If things are going wrong, have a conversation with your care provider. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Inform every new person who comes into the room of your plans and wishes because they may not have been told. Don't be intimidated to speak up; it is your right.

Bring an advocate

It can be a big help to have someone with you who knows your wishes and can help you ask questions. They can help advocate for you if you are having trouble speaking for yourself.

Know your rights

As a patient, you have the right to good, safe care, to question your care provider and to have those questions answered. You have the right to say no.

Feedback

If something happened that you didn't feel was right and you don't want it to happen to someone else, let the hospital know after the fact. Make your expectations clear for a resolution. What changes do you want to see? Power says hospitals need this feedback to improve and to learn what went wrong.

Escalate

If you don't feel your complaint is taken seriously, move it up to the next level. "[Patients] should keep having the conversations until they are satisfied," Power says.

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute has online tools for patients to learn to advocate for themselves.

About the Author

Annie Burns-Pieper is a freelance investigative reporter and producer. She has a particular interest in themes of gender equality, public safety and health.