Teaching Tips #2 - Consider Your Words – Plumtree Baby

Teaching Tips #2 - Consider Your Words

We applaud the recent article from Birth Monopoly about the impacts of the use of the word "allowed" when it comes to labor, birth and babies. The author writes: "It’s time to change our language around this to reflect the legal and ethical reality that it is the patient who chooses to allow the provider to do something—not the other way around—and to eliminate a word that has no place between true partners in care." Our teaching tip for this week is to:

Consider your words

We at Plumtree Baby try to be very intentional about the language we include in our booklets, articles and other materials, to help parents realize that they are the consumers and the decision-makers when it comes to the care they receive and the choices they make in their pregnancies, births and while caring for their babies. Sure, there are times when parents can not or choose not to be involved in decision-making, but most benefit from this mindset.

We know the words used matter and can change the way a mother thinks and feels about her birth. Being "allowed" has a different interpretation than "choosing to do." "Being delivered" and "giving birth" can have different connotations. There is more feeling in calling her unborn child a "baby" than a "fetus." 

In future blog posts we will share more articles exploring the positive words in our image above and some less than helpful words, including their meanings, their impacts and simple ways birth professionals can rephrase sentences to have a more positive influence. For now, what words do you avoid using when speaking with expectant parents? 

Read our next teaching tip "Storing and Displaying Posters."

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Plumtree Baby, LLC


Julie Olson

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