October 22, 2021

‘Words are important’: A campaign to change the language of maternity care.

A dictionary of more ‘authoritative’ phrases about motherhood is being made available to health professionals to help them discuss fertility, pregnancy and harm.

Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. You are more tired than ever, worried about your newborn baby and trying to get energy for the next contraction when you see a midwife or doctor about a “poor maternity effort”. I hear something being said.

The phrase has been used for years in expectant mothers’ beds, to describe the fatigue of labor that interferes with childbirth through the birth canal. But should it be used at all?

The answer from those behind the campaign to improve maternal accusations or traumatic labels is a resounding ‘no’. This is one of the 63 “outdated and painful” phrases to get a reboot in the renamed Revolution Dictionary. Parental app peanuts..

Terms such as “unprotected uterus”, “sterile pregnancy”, “unintended abortion”, and “advanced maternal age” have traditionally been used to define a woman’s reproductive status.

But the term is old, ”says Dr. Somi Javed, who advised on the campaign. “The purpose of medical terminology is to educate women and move them away from blaming or abusive labels, empowering women instead of embarrassing them.”

The campaign was inspired by a video a woman posted on the app, in which she tells her doctor using the word “geriatric” when she was trying to conceive at the age of 38. ۔ Support from women and sharing their experience of other traumatic conditions.

“Words are important,” said Michelle Kennedy, founder and CEO of Peanuts.

Maternal care.

Michelle Kennedy, founder of the Peanut App, is behind the renaming campaign. Credit: Peanuts.

In the dictionary, ‘germ pregnancy’ becomes ’35 + pregnancy ‘,’ rude uterus’ and ‘developmental failure’ – an outdated term that refers to a slow labor – well, ‘slow labor’ ‘

Many of these terms were coined by men at a time when medicine seemed to see women’s bodies in need of treatment or fixing. Rooted in historical skepticism, now is the time for our words to help women, says Millie Hill, author of the book Positive Birth, to be born a feminist. Although Hill Peanut does not agree with all of the proposed changes, she welcomes the launch of the campaign.

Instead of embarrassing women in medical terms, they should be empowered.

“A lot of maternity care language is misunderstood, inhuman or childish,” says Hill. For example, phrases like ‘incompetent cervix’. It very cleverly puts the blame on the body of women, when we know that it is often the system that makes women fail, and that in many cases they could have had a very different experience of birth, if They are supported and their working organizations need an environment.

Non-human language adds to this, Hill thinks, “suggesting that it doesn’t matter that many women are harmed and traumatized by the current birth system, because women It doesn’t matter, we see it embedded in language, such as ‘only a healthy baby matters’, or when women are called ‘mothers’.

Some 63 ‘outdated and painful’ phrases have resurfaced in the dictionary called revolution.

“This idea of ​​a woman as a ‘vessel’, a disposable container for a child, has very old, deep roots. We also have child-bearing language, like women are called ‘good girls’. This paternalist.” The view suggests that women should do what they are told in the birth room, as if they were children, and that some healthcare professionals lack understanding of the principles of consent. Allows

Full. Changing the name of the revolution. The dictionary is available online for free, with printed copies circulating in clinics, classes, and other centers in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual, but a language that doesn’t make women feel like they’ve failed before their baby is born seems like an authoritative start.

Main image: Anna Hacker

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