What are your rights in the delivery room?
1- To have a companion
You have the right to ask to have someone to be with you during labor and delivery. You can ask for more than one companion: your husband, your mother, your doula. However, this depends on the hospital’s policy and the design of the maternity ward. Sometimes several women are placed in the same pre-delivery room, which makes it impossible for the husband to be present. Therefore, you need to get information about this during the last trimester.
2- Freedom of mobility
Unless there is a medical need, you can request to be allowed to move while in labor. You can ask not to be continuously hooked to monitors, walk, and do exercise that can ease labor.
3- Choosing labor and delivery positions
Unless directed otherwise by the medical personnel, you can choose the most comfortable labor and delivery positions to ease labor pain and decrease the risk of episiotomy.
4- The right to hold the baby after birth
If the newborn is healthy and doesn’t need to be taken to the NICU, you have the right to hold him right after delivery. You have the right to the golden hour, skin-to-skin, and to breastfeed right after birth.
5- Delaying cutting the cord
Some studies showed the benefits of delaying cutting the cord after birth. This is another you can request from your doctor.
6- Choosing the pain relief medication
If you choose the medication to ease labor pain, you have the right to choose what type of medication. This can be done after consulting the doctors, you can also choose to start with a low dose, then gradually increase the dose.
7- Choosing the type of birth
Whether to have a vaginal, or cesarean birth, unless there is a medical necessity, is completely up to you.
8- Room sharing
You can ask to have your newborn share the same room with you if the doctor’s recommendation doesn’t say otherwise.
9- Choosing the newborn’s vaccines and medications
You have the right to know what vaccines and medications are given to your newborn, before choosing to accept or refuse them. I recommend consulting your husband and pediatrician before making your decision.
10- To accept or refuse procedures
International health protocols guarantee the patient’s freedom, in accepting or refusing hospital procedures. Of course, after being briefed on the risks by the medical personnel. Some moms, for instance, refuse to give the baby formula after birth to support their decision to breastfeed. It is noteworthy that baby-friendly hospitals won’t give baby formula unless there is a medical situation. Therefore, it is essential to talk to the hospital’s personnel, share your preferences with them, and prioritize the baby’s health and safety.
Being educated about your rights during birth and labor while pregnant, will make your birthing experience more pleasant and less stressful.