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What if you don't want to! Patient versus hospital policy?

(11 Posts)
Gemmitygem Wed 31-May-06 12:09:05

things like eating during labour even if they've said you can't, refusing certain procedures if you don't want them. Basically not doing as you're told by the hospital 100% of the time.

Is there any document which sets out your rights as a patient, does anyone know?

I just want to know where the hospital policy stops and your own rights begin..

compo Wed 31-May-06 12:10:15

Why do they say you can't eat during labour? is it something to do with c-sections under a general?

TheOutlawJessaOfJamberoo Wed 31-May-06 12:13:42

The consent policy sets out your rights to refuse procedures...every single hospital shoudl have one and they shoudl all be very very similar as they are pretty much dictated by the dept of health.

eating during labour is a different kettle of fish...it is to do with what woudl happen if you needed a anaesthetic...something about absorption of the anaesthetic maybe..

acnebride Wed 31-May-06 12:15:24

not eating before an anaesthetic is because a general suppresses your cough reflex, therefore you can't cough and may choke if under GA. But a lot of hosps DO allow eating during labour I believe?

Marina Wed 31-May-06 12:16:28

Hmm. Not sure about this but if your hospital has a PALS (Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service) they ought to know, if they are doing their job properly.

Gemmitygem Wed 31-May-06 12:25:18

planning to give birth in belgium. if I did need a c section, they do it under a spinal, but anyway have a policy that you can't eat in labour and can only drink water.

What I want to know is, can I just eat anyway? I mean presumably they can't tie you to the bed so you can't get at a chocolate bar or whatever! I have a really fast metabolism and faint if I don't eat, so am terrified of being starved throughout the labour..

It would just be interesting to know what your rights are if the hospital tells you to do or not to do something..

rubles Wed 31-May-06 12:47:46

You can have sugary drinks/fruit juice though, can't you? Glucose tablets? I know that is not your question but hospitals don't have a policy against those do they?

Gemmitygem Wed 31-May-06 12:52:51

yeah, maybe that's the way to go..

I've always got kind of worked about about not having access to food cos I get really shaky if don't eat regularly, and am scared about the birth anyway!

thanks for your tips..

RedZuleika Thu 01-Jun-06 10:58:22

I don't start with a mindset that says I need to ask permission for these things. I start from the point of view that it's my body, I'll do what I like and 'policy' is not the law.

Refuse whatever you want, if you want to do so and feel informed to do so. Ask for things, if you feel you need them - and make them explain to you why they don't think [whatever it is] is appropriate.

Act like a slave and you'll be treated like a slave. I'm sorry if that sounds arrogant - but I don't tend to take orders from anyone without seeing a good reason.

There is something in the NICE guidelines about eating during labour re how there is a risk of aspiration if you need a general anaesthetic. If your blood sugar falls, however, it may slow labour down. You can't start labour off planning for the worst scenario, otherwise (in my opinion) you make the worst scenario more likely to happen.

I ate in early labour, then lost my appetite and continued on water and isotonic drinks. I believe there's something in the NICE guidelines about how isotonic drinks keep your blood sugar up, without a commensurate increase in stomach volume (i.e. without the risk if you needed a general anaesthetic).

Gemmitygem Thu 01-Jun-06 11:50:44

I agree with you totally that you have to start from the position of 'medical staff recommend stuff to me and then I decide whether or not to do it.' It's just that when giving birth you're probably quite vulnerable and thus not as assertive as normal..

I think it's interesting how much we accept being told what to do, and that there is hardly any discussion of what your actual rights are to say no to things. (for example to refuse to be monitored as often as they like, refuse to be put on a drip etc)..

It's not like I'm intending to tuck into a Sunday roast between contractions, but I'm anxious at the thought of fighting against hospital policy whilst in pain..

SueW Thu 01-Jun-06 12:34:16

If you are planning to give birth in Belgium, this is probably not the best place to be asking what your rights are as a 'patient' because they may differ. Certainly here in the UK hospitals there are NICE guidelines which cover many aspects of pregnancy and labour amongst other things.

Some midwives locally will suggest you stay at home as long as possible. There are many reasons for this e.g.

- you will have less chance of there being any interference in your labour

- you are not subject to hospital guidelines and protocols so you can eat and drink, move etc as you see fit

- you're not requiring care from understaffed depts!

If you need a 'crash' section with a general anaesthetic you may be at risk of aspiration but anaesthetists are trained to cope with this - how would they deal with car crash victims who are on their way home from a big dinner for instance, if they weren't?

If you are concerned about not being as assertive in labour as you might normally be then make sure your birth partner is well-briefed on the things you feel strongly about and can deal with them calmly, quietly and efficiently.

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