I recently came across a great resource for childbirth; the Childbirth Connection website. As I was writing an article on the evidence-based maternity care report that was issued in part by them, I looked at more areas of their website and was so excited by all that I found! There is a lot of great information on all the stages of pregnancy, labor support, choosing a caregiver, choosing a place of birth, cesarean section, as well as a long list of other pregnancy resources.

Here is a brief overview of Childbirth Connection from their ‘About Us’ page on their website:

Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.

One section of their website that jumped out at me was the section on “The Rights of Childbearing Women“. How many of us ever really think about our rights when it comes to this area of our lives? Their list of the Rights of Childbearing Women applies human rights to the area of maternity care. The website also says that “although most of these rights are granted to women in the United States by law, many women do not have knowledge of their maternity rights.” It goes on to state that many pregnant women are not aware of their legal right to make health care choices for themselves and their babies.

I encourage you to click the link above to read their entire list (20 bullet points). The list has some of the statements marked with asterisks to indicate that currently in the US, childbearing women are legally entitled to that right, or that the legal system would probably uphold that right. Here are a couple from the list:

  • Right to uninterrupted contact with the newborn from the moment of birth.
  • Right to give birth in the position of her choice.
  • Right to accept or refuse procedure, drugs, tests, and treatments.
  • Right to have family members and friends of her choice present.
  • Right to receive full advance information about risks and benefits of pain relief methods, including those that do not require drugs.

Reading that list again makes me wonder about something. There is a hospital in my area that has a policy against having a doula, using a birth ball, walking around during labor, showering or taking a bath during labor, and is generally against a laboring mom “going natural” (not getting an epidural). It seems to me as if their hospital policy violates many of these rights of childbearing women. And that makes me sad.

But instead of being sad and doing nothing about it, I am doing what I can. I write about these topics in the hope of spreading information to others. When enough people are upset about these hospital policies, maybe change can start to happen.

I encourage all of you to read that article on The Rights of Childbearing Women. And then read more articles on their website. And pass this information along to all the women of childbearing age you know. Together we can make a change.

Wendy – Parenting Tips 365