Respecter les droits des femmes, leur corps et leur accouchement - Élhée

Respect the rights of women, their bodies and their childbirth

This Friday, women's rights are in the spotlight. Where celebrating them is an opportunity and wherever it is still useful to defend them, associations, celebrities and brands unite in the same message of defense and support. Thus, Élhée once again chooses to propagate this unique energy through a delicate subject: respect for the rights of women, their bodies and their childbirth. Because respecting women's rights begins by respecting their integrity, their wishes and their consent even in motherhood, here is an article to set things straight.


    The fundamental rights of women and pregnant women

    labor during childbirth

    The right to clear and appropriate information and the right to free and informed consent are added to French legal texts such as the Hospitalized Person's Charter and the Public Health Code , to guarantee the serenity of future mothers in the delivery room . Thanks to them, you have the power to decide:

    • the medical professional who monitors your pregnancy (gynecologist, obstetrician, midwife or general practitioner, in an office, clinic or hospital),
    • your place of delivery (maternity, clinic, birth center, technical platform or at home),
    • your birthing position : you have the right to refuse the gynecological position in favor of a more physiological position, to move during labor,
    • to accept or refuse certain acts during the birth of your child (vaginal examination, installation of the epidural, induction, presence of interns or students, episiotomy, etc.)
    • the best time to leave the maternity ward (if applicable, by signing a release)…

    In the context of a safe pregnancy and childbirth, and even in an emergency, because it is you who are giving birth and no one else , the maximum must always be done to respect your wishes. Because a birth that takes place according to your choices makes you fully in control of your body, your decisions and your creative power . A unique and feminine vision of birth, a provider of confidence and capable of influencing your life and your parenting.

    A survey carried out in 2022 by the Pays de la Loire Birth Safety Network shows that, out of 311 women who gave birth with the use of instruments (forceps, spatula, suction cup), 48.1% were not warned. Likewise, out of 247 episiotomies performed, 153 women indicated that they had not been consulted. Finally, among the 523 women whose labor was induced, 507 (97.1%) mentioned having received information on the reasons and methods used, of which 438 (86.3%) found it sufficient, 55 ( 10.8%) incomplete and 14 (2.8%) did not fully understand them.

    The female body: sacred territory

    Respect for the female body is a fundamental principle of equality and human dignity . It involves recognizing women's autonomy over choices and decisions regarding their own bodies , including during pregnancy and childbirth, including when they wish to terminate a pregnancy or do not wish to have a child.

    The female body carries desires and expectations, it also carries life. In this it is sacred. And because, from an early age, he is subject to various pressures of images and behaviors, nothing is more important than remembering his beauty, his gentleness, his grandeur and his sovereignty, at every moment.

    Bodily sovereignty, a concept to claim

    Behind bodily sovereignty lies the principle according to which each individual has his or her own person and bodily integrity that only he or she can control . Individual sovereignty which includes in particular the right to consent or refuse any medical treatment, to choose contraception and to experience one's sexuality freely.

    While female consent is regularly invoked in the French press, it is essential to also apply it to the period of maternity.

    However, respect for the rights of women and pregnant women is not always guaranteed, even in France. It is because many obstacles persist that International Women's Day is precious.

    • Medical paternalism ” still leads too many healthcare professionals to believe that a patient’s wishes or choices should not be respected.
    • The lack of awareness of their rights by poorly or poorly informed women is another significant obstacle to their respect.
    • Family and social pressures to live, behave, give birth in a certain way or to make choices that do not correspond to their desires is another.

    There is no person more capable than the woman herself to make the right decisions for her life and her health. Once informed, take the time to reflect and formulate, do not let yourself be influenced or impose choices or actions that do not suit you, that cause you pain or that make you uncomfortable. Instead, impose your own, or ask someone else.

    For a respected and positive birth: prepare for and live out your birth plan

    At the heart of the (extra)ordinary path to motherhood , you, the main actress and guardian of your body, your inner strength and your wisdom, guide your choices for a respected and positive birth of your baby.

    Knowing your rights , asserting your desires , and surrounding yourself with a caring team are the keys to a well-lived experience. Preparing for and visualizing your birth allows you to feel more involved in your birth and more confident, to welcome your child in a serene and respectful environment.

    Childbirth should never be an ordeal to endure, but a miracle to be celebrated. Reconnecting with your maternal instinct and the power of your body allows each woman to fully experience this event, a source of immense joy and a deep sense of accomplishment.

    Woman giving birth during labor

    Furthermore, alternatives exist for a birth in your own image : at home, in a birth center, in a maternity ward guided by a midwife, accompanied by a doula , in the presence of your spouse, as less medicalized as possible, in the water, in movement... The main thing is to enjoy a conscious birth that respects your choices.

    The birth plan

    A bit like a road map addressed to all the people – medical staff or not – present on the day of your delivery, the birth plan is a document which brings together your preferences in terms of hospital environment, medical care and care provided. to your newborn immediately after birth.

    From your medical history and emergency contact details to how you are set up throughout labor, your options for anesthesia or induction, and whether you want to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby. baby , everything is summarized, ready to be applied.

    Clearly, the birth plan is there to communicate, plan and prepare for the unexpected , to give directives and make decisions that we will not necessarily be able to give or take on the big day. Of course, you can establish a birth plan whether you plan to deliver vaginally, by cesarean section, and for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

    Information, preparation and self-confidence are the pillars of a positive birth. Imagining, writing and living out your birth plan is a way for each woman to express her wishes, mark her limits, have her rights and choices respected and fully invest in her maternal potential.


    Back to blog
    1 of 3