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Expecting Better From Hospital Births

Let's address the elephant in the delivery room: the pervasive fear that giving birth in hospitals means sacrificing your birth preferences at the altar of medical convenience. It's a legitimate concern fueled by countless stories of expectant parents feeling railroaded into unnecessary interventions, their autonomy sidelined by the rigid protocols of an outdated system.

But here's the truth: it doesn't have to be this way. As a birth doula who has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of a midwifery model of care within hospital settings, I refuse to accept the status quo. I've stood beside expectant parents as they navigated hospital births that embraced holistic methods, honored birth plans, and prioritized patient autonomy over medical expediency.

Yes, there are OBs who default to interventions at the first sign of deviation from the norm, wielding scare tactics like weapons to coerce compliance. But let me be clear: this is not the standard we should settle for. It's a symptom of a broken system—one that prioritizes expediency over empowerment, conformity over choice.

I've seen the difference a supportive OB can make—the kind who values informed consent, champions shared decision-making, and respects the inherent wisdom of the birthing person's body. These OBs, often informed by the midwifery model of care, prioritize physiological birth, intervening only when medically necessary and always with the birthing person's autonomy at the forefront.

It's time to expect better from our medical system in the realm of pregnancy and childbirth. It's time to demand a shift towards a model of care that respects the innate capabilities of the birthing body, that values holistic approaches alongside medical expertise. It's time to empower expectant parents to navigate their birthing journey with confidence, knowing that their voices will be heard, their choices respected, and their births celebrated as the transformative experiences they are meant to be.

So, to all the expectant parents out there: don't settle for less. Demand better. Seek out supportive care providers who align with your values, who prioritize your autonomy, and who believe in the power of holistic childbirth. Because you deserve nothing less than a birth experience that leaves you feeling empowered, respected, and profoundly supported every step of the way.

And to the hospital-based OBs and L&D nurses who are out there doing everything they can to change the way we view hospital births in the US, we see you. We appreciate you. We love you. You are doing hard work and it never goes unnoticed.

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