OK- you may not be ready to have a baby yet (or ever), but there are some things you don't even know you need to know so that you can know your birthing rights before you have to fight for them. And for those with no plans of reproducing ever, please tell your friends #PSA.
YOUR PRACTITIONER CAN’T WORK OUT OF ANY HOSPITAL YOU WANT
Your OB/GYN or hospital midwife only has privileges in certain hospitals, so make sure your hospital is a good fit in addition to your practitioner! Hospitals have different policies. Here are some important Qs to ask to see if your hospital is right for you:
- Can I be intermittently monitored? (If you are wanting an unmedicated birth and have no medical complications, and this is not allowed, go some place else.)
- Will my baby be separated from me?
- Can my partner stay overnight without paying more money for a private room?
- Does the hospital support breast/chest feeding? How?
- Does the staff have LGTBQ+ training?
YOU ARE THE BOSS. HIRE YOUR PRACTITIONER BEFORE YOU ARE PREGNANT
Building a birth team you trust is one of the most important steps you can take to having an empowered birth experience. And this starts before you are pregnant! Start shopping around earlier, so that you don’t feel stuck later with your practitioner. Here are some questions you can ask to see if you are a good fit. Remember, you are the boss! You are hiring your practitioner so be sure to find one that includes you in the convos and makes you feel like you have a voice in your own birth experience. Also, OBGYNs aren’t your only option. There are midwives that work in hospitals as well as in birth centers and at home. Midwives aren’t only for birth. They can handle all of your GYN needs as well.
MOST LABORS DON’T LOOK LIKE THE MOVIES
Hollywood has really screwed us on this one by continuing to demonstrate birth as some crazy woman screaming at the top of her lungs or her water gushing out in the middle of street on her Manolo Blahniks. Truth is, there’s typically a whole lot of waiting in birth. And, for first time birthers, it’s long. Like, the average for the first time laborer, can be about 24 hours long. So, unless you have a medical complication, or have been told otherwise by your practitioner, you do not need to rush to the hospital. Stay home for as long as you can. Also, it’s only about 1 in 10 people whose labor actually starts with the water breaking! More on this here.
DOULAS WORK IN HOSPITALS, NOT JUST AT HOME
Doulas are not just for homebirths! In fact, the majority of them mostly work in hospitals. Also, you can have an epidural and still have a doula- in fact, they can really come in handy to help you get the epidural at the most optimal time. And doulas are not just a hot accessory. They actually have a huge impact on birth outcomes including reducing the need for surgery and other interventions, increasing the chance of successful breast or chestfeeding as well as increasing satisfaction of the birth experience overall.
YOU CAN HAVE A VAGINAL BIRTH AFTER A C-SECTION
That’s called a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). There are care providers that are in support of and skilled at these births. But you do need to find them- not all are. Here is some more info on VBACs
THERE ARE EXTRA STEPS SAME SEX COUPLES MAY NEED TO TAKE
It is legally advisable for non-biological parents of same-sex couples to adopt their child to ensure that their parental rights are fully protected no matter where they travel to. Even if they are married. #fuckedup. Second-parent adoption is no picnic. It is expensive, requires a lawyer and can require a home visit… Just to begin painting the picture. The laws vary state by state, but same sex couples are advised to speak with a lawyer in preparation.
Submitted By: Doula Trainings International (DTI) – a mission-based community that trains and certifies birth professionals unified in reproductive health and justice for all bodies.