Birthing Rights -- Get Empowered and Know Your Options

There can be repercussions to refusing treatment. Your insurance carrier might not cover complications or care that results from you leaving against medical advice and your provider may decide not to continue on as your provider.

If you decide to decline the treatment recommended by a medical provider, you'll probably be asked to sign a waiver of liability acknowledging that you are taking responsibility for your decisions.

Emergency Situations

If you or your baby is in danger, your care provider is authorized to provide care without getting informed consent. If you need an emergency c-section, your doctor can go ahead without spending the time to explain the all of the risks to you.

Who's Taking Care of You?

You have the right to know if you're being treated by a trainee or an intern. You can refuse treatment by healthcare providers who are not fully-trained and accredited.

If you're birthing in a teaching hospital, you can choose not to be observed by students, but you have to speak up with your request and preferences. If you don't say anything, your request won't be heard.

Your Birth Plan

Your birth plan isn't a binding contract. Your care provider isn't required to follow it. Think of your birth plan as a summation of your goals or as a guideline. If an emergency situation arises, your midwife or doctor may need to deviate from the birth plan. If that happens, they will make every effort possible to let you know what's going on.

Just because you enter a birthing center or hospital in labor doesn't mean you check your rights at the door. You're a paying healthcare consumer and can expect your provider, birth facility and insurance company to work hard to meet your needs and comply with your requests and requirements.

Were you aware of all the possibilities? Did you have a less than ideal birthing experience because you didn't know about your rights? Share your story!