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for those of you who have given birth in a hospital...

Poll Results: have any of these things ever happened to you at a hospital birth?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 20% (104)
    I've had a medical intervention performed on me without my consent being asked for
  • 8% (43)
    I've had a medical intervention performed on me after I said "No"
  • 17% (90)
    a medical intervention was performed on my child after birth without asking for my consent
  • 8% (42)
    a medical intervention was performed on my child after birth after I instructed the staff not to
  • 0% (5)
    the hospital obtained, or threatened to obtain a court order if I didn't follow their instructions
  • 1% (8)
    the hospital contacted, or threatened to contact CPC if I didn't follow their instructions
  • 1% (10)
    I was told I couldn't see my child unless I consented to some intervention being done on him/her
  • 1% (7)
    my huspand/partner/labor support person were not allowed to be present with me during the birth
  • 37% (195)
    I've given birth in a hospital, but none of these things have happened
  • 3% (16)
    N/A, I've never given birth in a hospital
520 Total Votes  
post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
I've been reading birth stories, and have heard a lot of horror stories about hospital births and wanted to know how common these things really are.
post #2 of 64
I had a wonderful hospital birth.

That being said, my husband and I had to repeat ourselves in order to get what we wanted. Even with a birthplan.

"No. I will not be receiving any pain medication"
"No. I do not want a c-section"
"No, no, no."

None of the hospital personell was overly rude, I think they were suggesting things that, in their experience, the 'average' woman wants. I don't begrudge them doing their job. I'm glad that I was aware and strong enough to advocate for myself.
post #3 of 64
I think some of it is the hospital. The hospital I birthed in was very baby friendly. Rooming in, low c-section rate (they don't do high risk birth), very breastfeeding friendly.
post #4 of 64
I think something perhaps that maybe you left off the poll is "I was told a situation was emergent and a certain course of action was necessary, but none of that was true".

That would be my situation. I consented to most of what happened to me, but only because I was told I had no choice because my baby would die or because labor was "not progressing" (far from the truth).

My DS was administered a Hep B vaccination after I vehemently told them not to. He was also bathed for the first time outside of my presence without my consent, before I even saw him for the first time. I also believe he was given glucose water in the nursery.

All of those things are only a small amount of the victimization I experienced though. The general care I recieved was miserable.
post #5 of 64
I had 3 hospital births. All 3 were inductions (I have chronic hypertention and a previous fetal demise). So I don't exactly fit in the "no to low intervention" category.

But with that said, I couldn't have been happier with the way things turned out. I breastfed very shortly after delivery, I never had an epis, I roomed in, hubby slept over. I delievered at a large city hospital where there was a consent for everything. There were no circs or vaccines without written consent. All staff had very visable picture IDs on, everyone introduced themselves, and respected my wishes to just hang out with the baby. Breastfed babies were strongly enouraged to room in and were never given formula unless that was the decision made by the parents. When my first baby was cold after delivery he wasn't kept in the nursery away from me. Warming lights were brought to my room and he heated up right next to me. Weights were done daily on the newborns, and a scale was wheeled into my room and done in my presence. They baby was never "taken away" for anything except PKU at discharge (which I had no problem with as I firmly believe in newborn screening).

I have also read a lot of threads about "evil hospitals", but I never experienced any of the problems anyone posted about. My caregivers were intelligent and respectful, and always accomodated my requests. I think experiences will vary according to hospital and more rural areas may not be as flexible or have staff that are as educated.

I wish you all the best with your pregnancy.
post #6 of 64
It depends on the hospital! Not a very helpful answer I know, but very true.

I had two wonderful hospital births (with 2 different care providers) at my small local hospital...

They meet all the mama/baby-friendly guidelines, they have one of the best VBAC rates and lowest primary c/s rates in the region (even ICAN likes them ), they don't allow formula sample/diaper bag thingies at all (they make their own mama bags with LLL info, a baby board book, a little onsie, handouts on pp care and their support line, etc), the labor/delivery nurses are amazing and many of them are certified LC so there's always someone there to help with any nursing problems or questions (many have had natural births themselves and are very supportive in a BTDT way), and doulas, midwives, family practice doctors, and OBs all mingle together pretty happily.

You can labor anywhere and any way you want, they have tubs and showers for all (even mamas with ruptured membranes), they do intermittent monitoring and will use a fetoscope instead if you ask (even for vbac mamas), you're encouraged to use whatever position/vocalization/tools work for you. They even have a special "hypnobirthing" room (I used hypnobabies for my vbac)! And this is in a teeny tiny 4 birth suite sized labor and delivery ward. Mamas can eat (they even provide food if you forget to bring any) and drink whatever they want (I had Thai food delivered in my first birth) and they even provide support for the partners (which DH really appreciated). No required IVs, no suggestions of medication, and lots of positive support.

Sadly, despite everything, I did have my primary c/s there (though by the time I got to the hospital I think here wasn't much anyone could do...but despite that they let me keep trying for another 19 hours without meds, and when I did get the meds and then the c/s eveyone was VERY respectful and kind and I didn't get any negative comments about natural birth or about "healthy baby is all that matters"...one of the nurses who had had a vbac even came in to talk with me about c/s recovery and healing). But even with c/s mamas they make sure you're breastfeeding in the recovery room, and they don't even have a nursery! All the babes room-in and if you need a break the nurse takes the babe and sits with them one-on-one while you shower or nap. And with c/s mamas they realize you need extra help and a nurse was always there to help me care for dd if my DH was asleep and I needed help carrying her to the rocking chair or changing her diaper. AND they let me nap with dd on my chest instead of telling me to put her in the "baby-box" baby bed next to the bed.

My vbac birth was amazing with tons of support and after the birth I swear half the hospital dropped by to congratulate me...many remembered me from my last birth and were so thrilled that I'd had the natural vaginal birth I'd worked for. And as a small town hospital, well, there's a real small town feel.

BUT...this is NOT a normal US hospital! And most mamas are not going to have had such positive birth experiences in hospital settings.
post #7 of 64
Like wombatclay, I had a hospital birth at a small, local & relatively progressive hospital (although I just found out that they don't do VBACs ). I had a pretty positive experience considering that I had an emergency C-section & most of my birth plan couldn't be realized. I know that if things were different, my birth plan would have been respected 100%. I declined many treatments & just had to sign a release form. Luckily, my MW practice includes a Dr who performed the C-section has a very low C-section rate and I trusted them 100% with my care. When my MW said I needed a C-section, I know I needed it. I think we both would have died without it, baby certainly wouldn't have made it. I am extremely glad that I was in a hospital to deal with my dangerous & unforeseeable situation.

I just found out that people come to Hackettstown Hospital (NWest NJ) from NYC, Connecticut & elsewhere to take advantage of the excellent care. In fact, my MWs have played a major role in evolution of the maternity department & were responsible for getting the birthing tub rooms set up. It's scary to think of being subjected to the scenarios in the poll and or having to be on the defensive during such a vulnerable & important time. If I wasn't at such a great hospital, DH & I would have fought to have things to way we wanted them.
post #8 of 64
I gave birth in the hospital with my first dd, and nothing like this happened, but dp and I needed to be STAUNCH advocates for ourselves.
post #9 of 64
I didn't have any problems like that. The worst I had was bad breastfeeding advice, and a nurse who kept wanting me to lie on my back. (OUCH) I said no and she eventually gave up, but only because I had the most awesome CNM on the planet who told her to leave me alone.
post #10 of 64
I voted that none of that happened to me BUT I went along with everything they said, so I don't know how it would have been if I had refused to obey.
post #11 of 64
In my last hospital birth, there are some other variables that happened or that made it so I couldn't click the option. Like they didn't call CPS or tell us they would, but their authority was implied in that arena. They lied and everything they said wouldn't happen, they did anyway, like taking my perfectly healthy baby to the nursery and not letting me have him for hours. Other things happened with the doc, staff, and room as well.

My other two hospital births were fairly good, except for an abusive doctor during my c/s for my first son, and a few other things I could quibble about. But nothing stays in my mind as badly as my last birth at a bigger hospital.
post #12 of 64
I've given birth in a hospital 6 times so far and everything's been fine - no episiotomies, c/s, nothing like that, although I have had rude nurses. Even so, #7 will be born @ home & I only wish I'd started on this journey sooner! As OK as the hospital was, I hated nurses checking on me & asking when the baby nursed & when I changed them - I mean really! So I always just told them what they wanted to hear.

With baby #5, a nurse with 1 kid who said she bottle fed, demanded that I take my boob out & SHOW her I knew how to nurse the baby!!!!!! I said he's nursing fine & I've nursed 4 previously. She said I have to see it. I was so in shock I did what she said & I'm still angry about that! So it's stuff like that, that bothers me about the hospital.
post #13 of 64
I checked all of the first four. Don't have time to go into my lengthy ordeal. I do recommend looking at the forum's stickies that discuss how to have a better hospital experience Best wishes!!!
post #14 of 64
I think it's important to add that it is possible things happened without your consent that you aren't aware of... I've found out about many things that were done to my children and myself from medical records. If I had answered this poll six or so years ago after having had two hospital births I would've answered "I've given birth in a hospital, but none of these things have happened" and I would've been wrong (and I took all the courses at the hospital and filled out all the paperwork beforehand, so I thought I knew everything that was going on).
post #15 of 64


I had a great hospital birth experience but I also am lucky to have a natural childbirth friendly hospital in my area. They have nice birthing rooms with tubs and anything else you could imagine. The nurses were all natural birth friendly so there was no threat of intervention unless it was medically necessary. Plus they all followed my birth plan exactly.

I think that hospital births can be good experiences if you have a solid birth plan, you are educated on your options, you have a great birth team ( including a Doula) and are not afraid to take control. I have heard horror stories but in our area there are hospitals that are better than others. Research is key as well as "shopping" around before you decide where to have your birth.
post #16 of 64
I had a crappy hospital birth but not for any of the reasons mentioned. It was an emergency CS and the decision to operate was ultimately made by a consuitant (attending) OB who never examined me personally (the SHO [resident] on duty called the consultant, came back, said "you need a CS"). They weren't very good at explaining things to me. The aftercare was nonexistent.

My hospital had a baby-friendly certificate, and the UK isn't as big on taking the baby away after birth, so that was all right. But she ended up in NICU with severe jaundice and they were not as supportive of BFing as they should have been (insisted she have her supplements via bottle, would not permit her to be taken out from under the lights to BF).
post #17 of 64
my first 2 births were in the hospital but in a special "birthing center" room so it was expected that i'd have a natural, intervention free birth.
post #18 of 64
DS was born in a hospital and after his birth I was given a shot of Pitocin in the leg. No hemorrhaging or anything, the CNM did not say what it was or explain anything, just jabbed it in my thigh (I didn't have an IV) and later said what it was, that it was standard procedure.
post #19 of 64
I'm only preggo with my first, so I didn't vote, but I've been present for 2 dear friends' birth experiences, and I can tell you that they were not treated well. True, they didn't realize that they actually had options (and neither did I at the time or I would have advocated for them), but they were also not well informed by their nurses and ob's on what was going on and if they had another option and what the intervention was supposed to actually 'do' and the risks. They were both given Pitocin almost immediately upon entering the hospital, when it was obviously too early to tell if they would 'need' it. Neither knew that they could have refused the IV or labored anywhere but in bed. Both were consequently miserable. One had an episiotomy without any warning other than 'Stop pushing for a minute!' followed by the dr. cutting her w/o asking or indicating that the baby was in distress (and he wasn't). One specifically asked to *not* have an episiotomy, said she would rather tear (had an episiotomy with the first and then learned that it was unnecessary), and the dr's reply was that it was easier to sew up a nice straight line. When it came time he just went ahead and did it without even telling her. She asked after the baby was out if she tore, and he said 'nope, you've got a nice clean cut, now lay still so I can stitch it up.' : I won't even go into all the other crap that they and their babies endured that they had no clue they could refuse w/o DSS taking their kids away right then.
post #20 of 64
I had a wonderful experience with both hospital births. The only thing that came close to one of your choices was when I was pushing my first out. Her heartbeat was in the 40's for several minutes and everyone was getting worried. The doctor decided to cut me and try to get her out fast and he apologized at the same time that he was cutting me. I never told him not to cut (was young and didn't know what to expect) and she was born just fine with no problems minutes later. I was kinda upset about that but at the same time I agree with trying to get her out fast under those circumstances.

My next birth I had an epidural my choice, but other than that I had some out of the ordinary requests and all were honored. I felt very much in control.
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