Things moving slowly? Stopping and starting? What to do?
Birth’s a risky business, isn’t it?
You might have already been labelled ‘high risk’ or ‘low risk’, or the ‘risks’ of various interventions may have been discussed with you.. and whilst actually, I prefer the word ‘chance’ to ‘risk’, what’s more important is how this information is being presented to us. Bear with me, this one could change EVERYTHING!
Understanding risk in childbirth
There are two ways of presenting ‘risk’- something called ‘relative risk’ and something called ‘absolute risk’.
Relative Risk vs Absolute Risk
‘If you drive a black car you’re twice as likely to have a car accident than if you drive a white car’.. THAT is ‘relative risk’ and it’s essentially useless information.
’2 in 1000 people who drive a black car will be involved in an accident. In comparison to 1 in 1000 people who drive a white car.’.. THAT is ‘absolute risk’ and gives us a far better picture of what MAY happen. THIS is how everything should be presented to us in pregnancy.
Understanding research in pregnancy
Even better if we are also told how good this research is- did they send out 100 cars? Or 100,000? Was it dark? Icy? How long had the drivers been driving cars? What kind of accident did they have? A little scratch to the bumper or a total write off?
Followed up with a conversation about how applicable this research is to you- your car is grey after all.
(Please note I made up all these facts about cars!) but the general message is- saying something ‘doubles’ makes us think ‘20% to 40% DANGER!!!!’ When in actual fact it may be ‘0.1% to 0.2%’.. knowing actual figures may completely change the decisions we make, which in turn could change EVERYTHING about our birth experience. So next time you’re presented with some stats, ask for the research, ask for the figures and go away and mull them over!
PS. My car is black 😏