My journey to becoming a consumer advocate started with the unsuccessful (and quite unpleasant) induction of my first child in 2009. For me, this procedure ended in an unplanned, emergency Caesarean which, really, could have been avoided if better consistency in induction practice existed. For this reason, when I was invited to give a presentation in Melbourne about ‘First Time Mothers’ Experiences of Induction’ at the recent Women’s Healthcare Australasia consensus forum, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
* For your viewing pleasure, I have provided a link to my full PowerPoint presentation below.*
With the power of social media, I was able to present the story of my birth against a bigger backdrop of primip induction stories from 40-50 women from across Australia. The quotes, images and anecdotes I received were a powerful message to all present that women both need more support and education (particularly in relation to the birth choices they make as first-timers), and deserve evidence-based care which aligns with benchmarked norms.
My audience comprised of obstetricians, midwives and consumers from across the country who already ‘get’ the need to address practice inconsistencies around induction and are committed to making a positive change. It was extremely encouraging to have many conversations with individuals during breaks about how consumers can be better supported to make informed decisions, and how consumer voice can actively inform site-based activity.
A particular highlight for me was presenting a later a session with Dr Andrew Bisits about ‘The Language of Induction’, which formed part of a fun and interactive group discussion. Andrew is often regarded a ‘baby whisperer’ within the birth community, so not only meeting him but ‘working’ alongside of him was a very special moment indeed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the WHA for inviting me to be a part of a very important attempt to improve maternity services, and I would also like to acknowledge all of the women who generously and openly shared their induction experiences – this bank of evidence formed an invaluable base for the discussions had during the forum.