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What is coercing and how to navigate it

๐’ฏ๐“‡๐’พ๐‘”๐‘”๐‘’๐“‡ ๐“Œ๐’ถ๐“‡๐“ƒ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘”: ๐’พ๐’ป ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐“‚๐’พ๐‘”๐’ฝ๐“‰ ๐’ป๐‘’๐‘’๐“ ๐“‰๐“‡๐’พ๐‘”๐‘”๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐’น ๐’ท๐“Ž ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“‰๐‘œ๐“…๐’พ๐’ธ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐‘œ๐’ท๐“ˆ๐“‰๐‘’๐“‰๐“‡๐’พ๐’ธ๐’ถ๐“ ๐“‹๐’พ๐‘œ๐“๐‘’๐“ƒ๐’ธ๐‘’ ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐’ป๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐“‰ ๐“๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐“ˆ, ๐“…๐“๐‘’๐’ถ๐“ˆ๐‘’ ๐’น๐‘œ ๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“‰ ๐“‡๐‘’๐’ถ๐’น ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐“…๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐“‰

.๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ โ€ž๐——๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑโ€

Coercing is defined as โ€œpersuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threatsโ€ (Oxford languages). It’s worth noting that informal coercive language in maternity care is far more prevalent than most people might anticipate. A study conducted in Switzerland revealed that approximately one-fourth of women encountered informal coercive language during childbirth. Alarmingly, these women face a heightened risk of developing postnatal depression and are generally less satisfied with their birthing experiences (Oelhafen et al., 2020).

  • “If you don’t agree to an induction, you’re putting your baby at risk. After all, isn’t the baby’s health the most important thing?” (also includes an implication that you are a bad mom)
  • “Your baby might become trapped and suffer harm if you continue pushing for more than three hours.”
  • “We insist on continuous monitoring because not doing so could endanger your baby.”

Here you can find a link to a story of a woman who experienced the “dead baby card” in Israel.

Some medical professionals may not have been trained in providing respectful care and may rationalize the use of the “dead baby card” strategy by claiming they are merely conveying statistical facts. However, this justification is flawed for two important reasons:

โ— Firstly, coercive language is employed in numerous situations where there is no clear evidence that the suggested intervention leads to improved birthing outcomes. In many cases, the use of coercion may be driven by hospital policies or other personal or institutional interests or fears.

โ— Secondly,even if statistical evidence suggests that a particular intervention could lead to better birth outcomes, it is crucial to recognize that a birthing woman is entitled to respectful care as a matter of law. This entails obtaining her informed consent, which means she must receive comprehensive information regarding her diagnosis, prognosis, suggested interventions, associated risks and benefits, available alternatives, and more (as outlined in section 13 of the Patients’ Rights Law ื”ืกื›ืžื” ืžื“ืขืช). A care provider who delivers evidence-based and respectful care would communicate something like: “In your case, there is a 1% risk as opposed to 0.5% risk, and induction can potentially reduce this risk to 0.7%. Which s a clear benefit. However, it’s important to be aware that inductions come with certain risks, such asโ€ฆ,” instead of resorting to statements like: “By declining induction, you’re doubling the risk of stillbirth.”

What can you do if you experience coercive behavior?

If you find yourself facing coercive tactics, feeling infantilized, or being mansplained, you have several options:

  1. Ignore the coercive statement: Recognize that even though the use of coercive language is inappropriate, it may stem from routine practices, a lack of awareness, insufficient education, or a burdened healthcare system.
  2. Steer the conversation: Redirect the discussion toward exploring different options that are suitable for your unique situation.
  3. Assert your rights: Request that coercive language not be used and emphasize your right to make informed decisions about your care. If necessary, request a different care provider who respects your preferences.
  4. Report and complain: If you feel that your experience warrants it, consider reporting the incident and lodging a complaint. For further details, click here.

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