‘Caesarean-section, my body, my choice’: Are Informed Choices Made in a Vacuum?

by Asheya on February 23, 2012

This paper Caesarean-section, my body, my choice: The construction of ‘informed choice’ in relation to intervention in childbirth (2011), is a must read for anyone giving birth, working with women giving birth, or even just thinking about how women’s roles in society shape our birth choices.

Is there such a thing as truly informed, autonomous choice? Or are our choices constructed for us by the society in which we live, the expectations for women’s behaviour and identity, and our cultural values for everyday life?

Is it possible to have a society that values physiological birth and also values technology and control?

Is it possible to have truly equal opportunities for birth choices in a maternity system that spends most of its dollars on technology, training specialists in the use of technology, and hiring health care providers who see birth as a disaster waiting to happen (and so use technology to try to mitigate risk)?

What’s your experience with informed choice? Are there cultural values and expectations getting in the way of your autonomy? Is autonomy rightly the highest cultural value?

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