Continuing to unveil the results of the World Wide Post Cesarean Feelings Survey that I recently worked on with Theresa from Healthy Baby Network, I wanted to move on to question number 6 which was “Did you feel like you were in control or your care and respected throughout the process?”

Like every other question on this survey, we saw complete extremes on each side of the question, and very few moderate or middle of  the road answers. 312 women left a comment with their answer for this question, which left me with 14 pages of information, experiences, and comments that could be a trigger for anyone with any sort of a birth trauma. So I truly caution those same people from reading further.

Our of the 851 women who answered this question :
37.4% or 318 women felt like they were in control of their experience, and respected.
35.3% or 300 women felt like they were somewhat in control of their experience, and/or respected.
31.4% or 267 women felt like they were not in control of their experience, and were not respected.

When I discussed some of the comments these women left, Theresa said to me “Man, some nasty treatment” which is horribly sad for any woman who has been subjected to such treatment. It took me nearly 2 weeks to get through these comments and write this post because of the extreme nature of some of it.

So on to the comments.

“They treated me like a number. Like a ticking clock. They seemed to be prepping the OR behind my back, and every request, from ice to squat bar was ignored and almost sneered at.”

“No one treated me harshly at any time, my requests were carried out without protest, good lactation help”

“No respect, no compassion. At the mention of a c-section I started sobbing and the OB just stared at me stone-faced.”

“Dr. came into the room only a couple times the entire day, told me what was going to be done (never asked) she even laughed when she saw me sitting on the birth ball”

“Doctors are experts. I was OK with them being in control.”

“I am disappointed that no one ever explained the risks of c/s to me, especially to subsequent pregnancies, but I do feel like my OB would have respected my choices/opinions had I known better and refused c/s”

“The doctors were very respectful, explaining every step & making sure I understood why & what was going on.”

“I was constantly told what I needed in an effort to wear me down so that I would agree to their demands. I was forced to have my legs open in front of many strangers. I cried and nobody batted an eyelid. I wasn’t important. Childbirth is supposed to be a sensual, sexual, and most significant event in a woman’s and her child’s life which is certainly not acknowledged by the hospital system. I would say that I was sexually abused while in the hospital bed – another doctor (this time male) came and put his fingers into my vagina and the hospital midwife looked on with a smirk on her face that said ” You’re lucky to have such a good looking doctor like that up you”

“my membranes were ruptured without my consent, the OB did an episiotomy without my consent, the midwife was rude and confrontational, students were invited into the delivery room for the birth without my consent, i was left to hemorrhage until i came close to death, and so many more instances of poor care.”

“I felt in control of everything and I was able to explain my desires/wants”

“My first c-section – No. I felt like scare tactics were used to get me to induce w/o medical reason (“every day past your due date your baby has a higher chance of dying”), and then after 13 hours of labor, progressing nicely, I was told I had to have a c-section because my baby’s heart rate was very concerning. Yet, it took nearly 1.5 hours from decision to incision. Doesn’t seem very emergent to me.
Later, when I requested my records, I found that it listed my c-section as ELECTIVE. I still think I was coerced into a c-section because the doctor felt my labor was taking too long, it was the night before Thanksgiving, and she wanted to go home. After the surgery, they told me I couldn’t be with my baby and she HAD to go to the nursery. I didn’t see her for two hours and no one would call the nursery to find out if she was okay. I laid in a hospital bed, unable to move, terrified for my baby who was FINE (the nursery was understaffed). No one seemed to care how I felt or how upset I was. My second c-section was much better supported – however, I firmly believe that was because I demanded it of my caregivers. I knew everything I could know about VBACs and repeat c-sections
and refused to let myself be treated as poorly as I was the first time.”

I feel as though some of these comments are very telling as to the way maternity care works today, and the way that women view their providers, especially the comment above that a woman was happy her Doctor was in control because they are the professionals show us how much faith and trust women are putting into their providers. Good, bad or middle of the road outcome way too much faith and trust is being placed blindly in providers today.

Women need to build relationships with their provider, and build trust, it is not something that we should just automatically be giving because we picked Dr. X to deliver our baby, or provide us with prenatal care.

…The Post Cesarean Feelings Survey was created by Danielle Elwood, doula, birth advocate and blogger at, and Theresa Shebib co-founder of, with the goal of raising awareness about the emotional impact of cesarean birth