Due to the astronomical cost increases of medical malpractice insurance, nearly all of the birthing centers in NYC have disappeared. With the exception of the birthing center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, New Yorkers are primarily giving birth in hospitals, with shockingly high intervention rates (see intervention rates on The Birth Survey for more info). I had both of my kids at the late St. Vincent’s Hospital, and we all survived, but both experiences were frankly very medical. That said, I chose medical births because I was wanted epidurals, and that, I now know, restricts your options for how you labor (see next week for tips on birthing with an epidural). But if you’re planning a drug-free hospital birth, here are five basic human rights that should be observed. You may need to fight for your rights, but hey, you’re New Yorkers, so you should be thick-skinned!
- You have the right to move around freely when you labor.
- You have the right to be detached from an electronic fetal monitor.
- You have the right to eat and drink during labor.
- You have the right to refuse an IV.
- You have the right to accept or deny any medications/interventions.
Remember this is your body, your baby, and the choices are yours. So discuss everything with your birthing team in advance. Be sure you’re all aligned, and have an advocate (partner, doula and/or family member) help you stick up for your rights on D-Day.