How to Self-Advocate in Healthcare Part 2
Navigating the health care system can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you’re trying to advocate for yourself and your family. As a mom, it can feel like a constant battle to get the care you need, but with some strategic self-advocacy tactics, you can empower yourself to move beyond simply accepting what doctors tell you. In this blog post we'll explore how moms of all backgrounds can approach healthcare providers armed with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their own health and wellbeing.

1.  Understand Your Rights and Make Sure Your Medical Professional Understands Your Rights
As a patient, you have certain rights that you should be aware of. These rights include the right to receive information about your diagnosis, the right to participate in decision-making about your care, the right to refuse treatment, and the right to access your medical records. It is important to understand these rights so that you can assert them if necessary.  Ask your medical professional to give you a copy of the patient's bill of rights and to read it to you.  That way you both hear the same things and can be on the same page.

2.  Speak Up for Yourself
If you feel like you are not being heard or respected by your healthcare team, it is important to speak up for yourself. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that you are the expert on your own body and you deserve to have a say in your care.  If your medical professional will not listen to you ore respect your opinion, knowledge. or personal research, you do not have to continue with that same person!

3.  Be Informed
In order to get the best possible care, it is important to be informed about your own care. This means asking questions, providing information about your symptoms and health history, and following up with your healthcare team after appointments.  This also means reading all the information given to you, including inserts for medications (including vaccinations).

4.  Advocate for Yourself Outside of the Doctor’s Office
There are many things you can do outside of the doctor’s office to advocate for your own health. This includes staying informed about your condition, staying up-to-date on treatments and research, and joining support groups or online communities.  This also includes finding information on alternative treatments, therapies, and diet that you can actively participate in to support yourself at home.

5.  Seek a Second Opinion
If you are not comfortable with the care you are receiving from your current healthcare team, you have the right to seek a second opinion from another provider. This can be a helpful way to get more information about your condition and treatment options.  This can be even more helpful if your current healthcare professionals are not of the same mindset in treatments. 

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how we advocate for ourselves in health care. I'm not talking about insurance companies or the government, but rather our individual interactions with medical professionals. Whether it's asking tough questions, getting second opinions or standing up for what we believe in, self-advocacy is essential to getting the best possible care. But advocating for oneself can be difficult and sometimes even scary. So I wanted to open up the conversation and see how others do it. Do you have any tips or tricks for self-advocating? Let me know in the comments below!
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