One of the key things you can do is take control with medical staff. I know this can sound daunting (my other half was nervous about this and felt 'who was he to question a midwife with 20 years experience?'). It's not about being awkward or working against the medical team supporting you. It is about understanding your rights and choices, what your partner (and you, both) want from the birth experience, and maintaining control.
Not all women going into labour in a hospital setting are informed or prepared. More often they are scared and in pain, caused by the fear, tension and adrenaline (see module 2 for more details about this). Medical staff are used to dealing with women in this state and sometimes the preferences and emotional state of the woman giving birth can be overlooked.
Of course we are incredibly lucky to have access to the medical care available to us and, when necessary, medical intervention saves lives. It is however important to understand that some intervention may be offered purely as a routine procedure, not because it is essential. It might not be the right option for you and your partner.
But how are you and your partner supposed to know what is an essential procedure and what is just routine protocol? How can you question a doctor/midwife with years of medical training and experience?
The first question should always be:
"Is my baby or partner in danger?"
If the answer is 'No' then you can ask for some time alone together, 30 mins or so, and then just see what happens. Sometimes being able to relax a little without anyone else there can be enough to get things moving along.
If the answer is 'Yes' or you keep being offered the same procedure then use your BRAIN. This is just a series of key factors to consider before making a decision.