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Human rights in childbirth refer to the fundamental rights and freedoms that women should be able to experience during pregnancy and childbirth. These rights include:

An oange card depicting information on knowing your rights in childbirth, from the Birth Prep In A Box course.
Knowing your rights in childbirth

1. Right to informed consent: Women have the right to receive accurate and complete information about their medical condition and treatment options. They also have the right to make decisions about their care based on this information. 2. Right to privacy: Women have the right to privacy during medical examinations and procedures. This includes the right to be treated with dignity and respect. 3. Right to autonomy: Women have the right to have control over their own bodies and to make decisions about their care. 4. Right to freedom from discrimination: Women have the right to receive equal treatment regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics. 5. Right to quality care: Women have the right to receive high-quality care during pregnancy and childbirth, including access to skilled healthcare providers and necessary medical interventions. In summary, human rights in childbirth aim to ensure that women are treated with dignity and respect during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.

Knowing your rights is just one of the 34 topics included in our Birth Prep In A Box cards and free online course.

Emma Ashworth literally wrote the book on Why Human in rights in Childbirth Matter, she tells us that ‘No is a full sentence’. Meaning that there is no need for exmaplation if you choose to decline anything offered to you when having a baby. That includes scans, midwife visits, consultant appointments, vaginal examinations, birthing in hospital and even birthing with a midwife present. It is ALL your choice.

You can take the birth prep in a box free online course, buy the cards or book and one-2-one to find out lots more about this subject and may others.

Sarah x

Human Rights & Bodily Autonomy Worldwide

It is certainly easier to access ‘quality care’ in specific areas of the world, there is no doubting that. But even in some areas of the world where ‘quality care’ is thought to be available, Human Rights in childbirth still seem to go out of the window.

For example being told that a Vaginal Examination is ‘necessary’ to qualify someone to access a midwife or pain relief. THIS IS NOT OK! Or being told that a canual is essential even for an uncomplicated birth in a hospital. THIS IS NOT OK! Or being ‘informed’ that free birth (birth without a midwife present) is ‘illegal’ in the UK. THIS IS NOT OK! Importantly, know that wherever you are birthing you ALWAYS have the same ‘basic’ human rights and bodily autonomy.

Bodily autonomy means my body is for me; my body is my own. It’s about power, and it’s about agency. It’s about choice, and it’s about dignity. - Source: United Nations Population Fund

Your right to bodily autonomy means that no-one has the right to make decisions about what happens to your body but you, this includes your unborn child. (NB. A child has their own Human Rights from the moment they are born).

Read more on this subject from the fantastic Emma Ashworth in her book AIMS Guide to Your Rights in Pregnancy & Birth, in her Instagram feed @Emma_Ashworth_Birth_Rights or in her course with Developing Doulas Consent: Rights in Childbirth


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