Know Your Newborn's Rights After a Hospital Birth: What Are Your Choices?

Did you know that you don't have to cut your baby's umbilical cord immediately after he/she is born?

Did you know that you could hold off on standard hospital procedures after your baby is born, given he/she is healthy, until after the first breastfeeding session (and beyond?)

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, but I was one of those mothers who walked into labor and delivery trusting everything my OBGYN said.  I had not done any extra research on the policies and procedures that took place during a hospital birth.  I had no idea how these medicalized birth practices could impact my delivery, my child's future well-being, my breastfeeding initiation, and my recovery.  

Now that I have been in the birth and postpartum professional world for over 3 years, I am shocked about how little I knew about my rights during birth and beyond.  And I have a masters degree, dammit! I am an educated woman about everything else in my life, so why didn't I learn more about birthing practices?  

Fortunately, there are many research-based articles on the web that will help you make a decision about whether these routine hospital procedures are for you or not.

So which procedures are under your control?

1. All initial evaluations can take place while the baby is resting on mom's chest.

2. Your baby doesn't need a bath in the hospital - the vernix helps fight infections and is moisturizing, so rub it in!

3. If you don't have chlamydia or gonorrhea, your baby doesn't need drops in the eyes after birth.

4. Vitamin K shots - does your baby really need this?  

And these are just a few....

For more information about your newborn's rights after a hospital birth, take the time to listen to this fabulous online radio show episode from Pregtastic called, Know Your Rights!  Routine Hospital Procedures for You and Your Newborn.

Also, while you are at it, make sure your hospital is breastfeeding-supportive.  In 2012, you would think they all are, but, again, I was shocked at how many of them are not.  Best for Babes has a great article that can help you figure this out: Top 10 Questions to Help You Find a Breastfeeding-Supportive Hospital.