Illuminating risk

small_8330946951The concept of risk has been increasingly mentioned in birth-related literature over the past few years by many different groups. We have those who have become concerned by what they view as the risk-laden nature of certain aspects of birth. People and groups who are keen to manage these risks. Others are seeking to illuminate and challenge the way in which the notion of risk is being used, intentionally or unwittingly. Yet other groups want to limit and/or control women’s decisions. And not to forget the people who have to make very personal and difficult decisions amidst all of these other debates.

I have added to this literature and would identify more often (though not necessarily always) with those whose aim is illumination. I believe that, although the notion of risk has come to dominate our culture, there is often no good evidence to support the fear it creates. I think it is good to point out the frequent lack of basis for the fears that are so often expressed so that those who choose to may face up to this monster, see that it is really not as scary as it may have first appeared and, ultimately, take back their power.

This is something that I want to write about more one day. For now, I have a few things to offer. Here are some of the key posts on this website which relate to this area. The final one is the book that I have recently updated. In this, I explain how the notion of risk is used in maternity care and what women and families need to know about this.

I hope they will serve to illuminate and further your own thinking.

The risk-managed birth ball

Word-thought for the day: replacing risk with chance

Risk: the game of life

What does “at risk of needing a caesarean” actually mean?

Risk: what is to be done?

‘Risk talk’ and reducing fear

A duo of thought-provoking articles on risk

Birthillogics #3 – denying ‘at risk’ women access to midwifery-led units

The theoretical risk of water embolism





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