“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History!”
Sitting behind a car at a red light I read this sticker and chuckled to myself. Then I began thinking about women in history, many of whom I admire, and I had to admit that most of them had caused quite a ruckus in their time for their causes. But one think is certain-Their voices were heard and in the end they got what they wanted. It seems to be true, well behaved women rarely make history.
And sometimes, they don’t make babies either.
Mamas on Bedrest, sometimes you have to “misbehave” to get what you (and your baby) need!
Case in point: A mama on bed rest has been admitted to the hospital with uterine irritability and suspected preterm labor. After stabilization, the doctors are recommending that she be sent home. She is only 22 weeks and this is not the first incidence of preterm labor. She was placed on modified bed rest at 18 weeks with her first episode of preterm contractions. She also had a stillbirth at 26 weeks several years ago and has a 2 year old at home, born at 32 weeks. Finally, she lives over an hour away from her hospital and physician.
This mama is petrified. She is afraid to be sent home, where she spends most of the day alone with her toddler. She has no support. She has vivid memories of going into preterm labor with her first born and not making it to the hospital in time to save that little life, as well as the emergent delivery of her son. She desperately wants her baby and doesn’t know what to do to convince her doctors to let her stay on hospital bed rest.
So what can this mama do to ensure that she and her baby receive the best care possible and both survive and thrive?
1. Make A LOT OF NOISE! The addage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is true. While it is sad and quite tragic that this mama has to “fight” for medical care, the fact remains that her life and the life of her baby may very well depend on it. Our health care system is so broken that hospitals are often more concerned with their numbers and bottom line than doing what is best for patients. Unfortunately, this often leads to “cost cutting” decisions that often aren’t in patients’ best interest. Such decisions can be reversed. Ask to speak with social services and ask them to help advocate for you. Ask for your case to be reviewed by the chairman of your department, in this case, the head of the OB/GYN department. You can also request outside review from external medical boards. Once you start drawing attention to your case, many times, you can get the care that you want and need.
2. Have an Advocate. For some patients, this kind of self advocacy just isn’t possible; they may be too shy but more often, too sick to speak on their own behalf. Whenever possible, have an advocate. This can be your spouse, a family member or a friend who will knows your health care wishes and desires and will stand up for them and defend you in the event that you can’t defend yourself. If possible and economically feasible for you, you may want to hire a doula or birth attendant. While the initial outlay of cash may seem daunting, in the end, they may save you much more than cash.
3. Know you health history. The mama above has a strong history of preterm labor. That alone makes her a candidate for inpatient care if she has no one at home able to monitor her. What further strengthens her case is if she knows the cause of her preterm labor, any reactions to medications or treatments and the outcomes. Since most patients don’t know or recall all the details, I advise them to have a copy of their medical record to share with attending physicians. Many patients will say, “Well my doctor said they sent my file over.” This may or may not have happened and the file may or may not have reached the obstetrical floor. If you have copied of your records, you can give them to those taking care of you and they can make copies and have the information immediately on hand (DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR COPIES TO KEEP! Have them make copies or have copies made for them.)
4. Don’t Stop until you get what you want and need. This can be the trickiest part. Many patients don’t know who to talk to when things are not going well. Of course you should always try to talk to your health care provider. They are your first line of defense. But when they are not acting in what you feel is your best interest, move on. Speak with other attending physicians, speak with patient advocates, speak to hospital administrators. Keep talking. Keep asking questions. Keep pressing until you get what you want and need.
These and more tips are available in our Bedrest Coaching program. Try a complimentary Bedrest Breakthrough Session and see how together we can help you navigate your pregnancy. To schedule an appointment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Mamas on Bedrest, it’s time that parents in the United States receive paid time off when bringing home a new child-be it a newborn or a newly adopted child.
According to an article in , 178 countries around the world offer some sort of paid parental leave. eThe US is not one of them.
“The U.S. is the only high-income nation not to have paid maternity leave, while almost all middle- and low-income countries offer it, too,” says Jody Heymann, founding director of McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy and author of Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone. The exceptions include Swaziland, Papua New Guinea—and us.
Despite the fact that numerous studies have shown the benefit on health and family for paid parental leave, and the broad support for paid family medical leave (Approximately 76% voter approval according to the National Partnership for Women and Families) the US has been slow to take on this cause. That is why Working Mother is launching a four-year campaign to improve matters. Their goal is ambitious: to ensure paid parental leave is available to all U.S. workers by 2015, Their 30th anniversary year.
“This campaign is essential to the health of all working families,” says Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. “It’s also critical to the economic health of our companies and our nation. Our ability to compete in the global marketplace depends upon the energy, intelligence and commitment our mothers and fathers bring to the workplace every day—qualities that are built on a strong family foundation.”
When the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993, it was intended as a start to parental leave. FMLA mandates 12 weeks of job-guaranteed leave for caregivers. Many parents don’t utilize FMLA because it is unpaid. The National Partnership for Women and Families has statistics showing that 78% of employees eligible for FMLA don’t take it due to financial constraints. In addition, small companies are exempt, and employees who’ve been in a job for less than a year or work fewer than 24 hours a week are also out of luck.
Only two states, California and New Jersey, both offer paid-leave programs that cover birth, adoption, foster placement or leave to care for a sick immediate-family member. “Both states have set up what’s basically a social-insurance system, like unemployment insurance,” says Bob Drago, research director of the institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC, “and it’s 100 percent funded by employees.” The cost to employees is minimal: totaling only pennies to a few dollars a month, depending on the employee’s salary. In California, moms and dads can take up to six weeks off at 55 percent of their salary, with a maximum weekly payout of $987. In New Jersey, parents can take up to six weeks off at a max of $559 a week. In both cases, businesses don’t pay a nickel for these programs.
In fact, despite business-community concerns that family leave would hurt productivity, a recent report on the situation in California from the Center for Economic and Policy research (CEPR) in Washington, DC, found that fear unrealized. Roughly 90 percent of businesses surveyed as part of CEPR’s Leaves That Pay report said that paid family leave either had no impact or a positive impact on productivity, performance, turnover and morale. nor did it result in companies being short-staffed: only about 6 percent of employees took off each year. In California, 60 percent of employers surveyed said they saved money because employees used state family leave instead of employer-aid sick leave, vacation time or disability benefits, according to CEPR.
More states are beginning to follow suit. Washington State passed paid-family-leave legislation in 2007 (although it has yet to be implemented); and Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Oregon each have had similar measures under consideration in recent years. How does your state fare?
The National Partnership for Women and Families has long been pressing for Paid Family Medical Leave. They have started a petition in conjunction with Working Mother to push for paid family medical leave. While this may be an uphill battle, it is a battle that can be won. Yet, it will only be won if people who are truly concerned and affected get involved.
To that end, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond is joining in this battle and asking you mamas to do the same. Women who are prescribed bed rest during their pregnancies face unprecedented financial hardship. In the 2 years that Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond has existed, we have heard stories of women losing their jobs, losing their medical benefits, inability to meet monthly financial obligations, home foreclosures and bankruptcy. Paid Parental Leave laws could alleviate much of this financial strain and enable mamas on bed rest to focus on taking care of their health and the health of their unborn babies. We are asking that you please take a moment and sign the petition. Contact your legislators and share your stories. Mamas on Bedrest, you more than many other women know the challenges and difficulties associated with not being paid while on maternity leave. Lift your voices! Help us win the battle!!
Join the discussion. Post your comments and maternity leave stories below in our comments section. The more awareness we can raise, the better!! We will also be discussing this issue on our Facebook Page and on Twitter (follow us, @mamasonbedrest)
Working Mother: Everyone But U.S.: The State of Maternity Leave
The National Partnership for Women and Families and Working Mother Paid Family Leave Petition
Mamas on Bedrest, do you have hip and/or low back pain? Wanna know how to gently stretch your hips? Join Bedrest Coach Darline Turner-Lee this Wednesday, September 28th for a FREE demo of Bedrest Fitness. What will be presented? Take a look below for a sample. Darline shows a simple hip stretch done while in bed utilizing pillows and a bath towel. The Webinar is this Wednesday, September 28, 9:15-10:15 am CT. And it’s completely free. All you’ll need to participate are some pillows, a bath towel and you-in bed!To get the login details, e-mail email@example.com.