Once a pregnant woman gets to term and either starts experiencing labor contractions or breaks her water, whoever is with her should take her to the hospital to get checked on.
Assuming that she is having a normal birth, the doctor will keep her there but mom-to-be cannot start pushing out the baby just yet. Mom’s cervix needs to open up to 10cm before the doctor can give her the green light to start pushing the baby out. For this to happen, soon-to-be mom should be experiencing some serious contractions, which intensify with time. The uterine contractions help to dilate the cervix and to engage and push the baby out.
The doctors will engage in many activities in the delivery room while waiting for mom to dilate fully. They usually begin by hooking the mother up to a fetal monitor using a belt that they attach to her belly. The purpose of the monitor is to check the baby’s heartbeat and monitor the mother’s contractions. In case of any alarming readings, the doctors can intervene. The nurses do periodic checks on mom until she is ready to deliver her baby.
These are standard hospital procedures that mom will not be asked to consent to. In addition, doctors will go ahead and do these things without necessarily consulting mom.
20 Giving Episiotomies
An episiotomy is a surgical cut done in the perineum area to aid a difficult delivery and prevent ruptures. Doctors have been performing this procedure in the hopes of speeding up delivery and preventing birth canal tears, which they believe took longer to heal than an episiotomy cut, notes Mayo Clinic. However, since after extensive research experts discovered that the procedure is not necessary, so they do not do it routinely.
Therefore, doctors should only perform episiotomies in situations where it is clearly an emergency. This means that they hardly ever need mom’s consent. Such emergency cases can include, shoulder dystocia where a baby’s shoulders stick during the delivery. Doctors can ease the baby out by performing an episiotomy.
19 Going In For An Emergency C-Section
In many hospitals, when mothers and fathers-to-be sign in for delivery, the signed documentation can serve as consent whenever doctors find it necessary to perform emergency operations to ensure that mom and baby are okay. Most moms who go for C-section births have to sign consent forms because it is a major surgery. However, there are cases when signing these forms is not always possible.
According to WebMD, a laboring mom can pass out or develop health complications that can make the baby get distressed. All these cases allow the doctor to perform an emergency C-Section without mom’s consent. After all, the doctor’s main goal is to ensure that mom and baby are both fine.
18 Emergency Delivery Of The Placenta
Having a natural birth can be an exhausting task and some moms may not be aware that after they deliver the baby, they have to deliver the placenta as well. This process can take an hour or less. Sometimes the placenta can come out shortly after birth; other times mom has to push it out and at times there are pieces that remain inside the uterus.
In some cases, moms can lose a lot of fluids and the doctors have to speed up the delivery without mom’s consent. They can do it manually by massaging her tummy or use an injection to stop the fluids from leaking, as claimed by Tommys.
17 Water Didn't Break? They'll Break It For You
Only 10% of expectant mom’s experience spontaneous rupture of their membranes when labor commences, as claimed by Verywell Family. However, there are cases when a mother can start labor before her water breaks and when this happens the doctor has to perform a procedure known as amniotomy.
The process helps induce labor, help labor to progress well and stimulates stronger contractions. The doctor does not need consent to do it, however, he may inform mom about his intentions of breaking her water. Amniotomy is one of those interventions doctors are allowed to perform that are covered under the signed contract mom has with the hospital. Overdue moms are more likely to get an amniotomy.
16 The Administration Of Antibiotics
Any antibiotics given during labor are meant to protect the baby from infections and doctors do not need consent from mom to do so, it usually a critical medical decision. Most hospitals would rather give the antibiotics as a precaution.
Antibiotics are administered through an IV to women who have tested positive for certain bacteria, have a fever during labor, have prolonged labor, are planning on having a C-section, or are in preterm labor. According to Belly Belly, an infection might be the likely cause of their early labor. Some doctors may inform mom when administering the meds and give their reasons for doing so.
15 Deciding On A Vacuum Delivery
Operative or assisted delivery is when doctors use either a vacuum device or forceps to help the baby out of the birthing canal. Doctors usually use this mode of delivery when mom has been pushing for a long time and as a result, wears out completely.
According to BabyCenter, doctors will opt for an operative delivery without getting consent from the mother in cases where a baby is nearly out but his or her heart rate is non-assuring. This kind of delivery occurs only when the baby’s head is low enough. If it is unsuccessful, a C-section is the only next option.
14 Put The Cameras Down
According to Mom.me, hospitals are different; some may allow the use of video and photography during labor while others only allow photography. Some do not allow any type of recording at all. Many moms may want to document their birth but sometimes it is not up to them.
Even if a hospital allows moms to record their deliveries, sometimes it may not be possible especially when the doctors have to whisk her away to the OR for an emergency C-section. Only the hospital staff gets to enter the OR. Therefore, it is always good for moms to inquire beforehand about the hospital’s policy on recording births.
13 Cervical Checks Are Intrusive But Necessary
As much as checking for dilation can be intrusive, doctors and nurses do not need consent from moms to do so. While in the delivery room, moms are in the hands of the nurses who have to keep checking on the progress of labor to give updates to the doctor.
As claimed by Belly Belly, cervical checks are important as they tell doctors how far dilation has progressed, how thin the cervix is and ideally how close mom is to giving birth. Moms who want to have natural births have to dilate from one centimeter to 10cm before they can start pushing. Moms also benefit from these checks as they get to know how far they are from giving birth.
12 A Birth Plan Doesn't Always Work
A mom’s birth plan is not cast on stone because of the unpredictable nature of birthing a child. Doctors can change a birth plan without the mother’s consent. Ideally, moms are supposed to make a birth plan so as to ensure that the doctor is on the same page as them in terms of pain management, labor procedures, and delivery methods, as claimed by Kids Health.
Sometimes moms may want to have natural deliveries after C-section but due to the risks associated with this type of birth, they may end up having a C-section delivery before they even get to term. Therefore, it is important for moms to be flexible in the event of complications.
11 What If Your Baby Doesn't Cry?
Not all babies cry after taking their first breath when they are born. There are times when the delivery team has to intervene in order to make a baby cry and they do not need consent from mom to do so. Doctors will clean out any fluids in the baby’s nose and mouth, rub their backs, or dry them off to stimulate the cry.
Some babies might not cry right away because they may be sedated by pain meds that were given to the mother. At times, labor can traumatize some babies such that they can forget to cry. Regardless, once a baby experiences the change in temperature, they should let out their first cry, as stated by romper.
10 Don't Grab The Scissors Just Yet
Throughout the pregnancy, the umbilical cord has been at work transporting important nutrients and fluids from the mother to the baby. After birth, the doctor has to cut and clamp it. Waiting for all the fluid in the cord to drain inside the baby has many benefits as claimed by Healthcare.
However, doctors do not need consent from a mom to cut the cord. There are times when a baby is born with the cord wrapped around its neck and the doctors have to cut it immediately. Nevertheless, moms should voice their preferences and ask their doctors to delay cord cutting, they should oblige especially if there are no complications.
9 Ultra Sound Checks
According to NCBI, some doctors may need to perform an ultrasound during labor to check on a baby’s position. Moms who have breech babies require a lot of attention from doctors, and using these checks a doctor can discover if his or her patient can deliver normally or if they have to undergo a C-section.
Doctors do not have permission to perform these ultrasound checks without consent because they are part of hospital procedures. Some hospitals do not allow breech baby births and therefore have to keep checking if the baby has turned so that mom is given an opportunity to have a natural birth. If the baby is unable to turn, they normally insist on mom having an emergency operation.
8 Clearing The Delivery Room
The number of people allowed in the delivery room will vary from one hospital to another. Some will allow one or two people at a time while others allow an unlimited number as long as the guests do not in any way affect the delivery process, as noted by Verywell Family.
However, doctors can clear the delivery room without mom’s permission especially if they feel that the guests are destructing the mother’s labor and delivery. At the end of the day, doctors want what is best for mom and baby. Doctors can also ask guests of mom to leave when they have to do certain procedures or talk to mom privately.
7 Monitoring Contractions
When moms get to the delivery room, a doctor immediately hooks them up to an electronic fetal monitor that monitors the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contraction. The monitor is supposed to help detect any changes and prompt the doctor to take steps to help treat the underlying problem, according to Family Doctor.
The machine, which also connects to a computer, also shows the strength and length of mom’s contractions at any given time. No consent from mom is needed for this as most hospitals are required to do so, however, a lot of moms will resent being tied up to the machine because they cannot move around which at times is helpful in relieving labor pains.
6 Giving Fluids Via An IV
Many hospitals mandate that moms get IV or hep-locks when they check in for delivery so that doctors are able to administer meds quickly in the event that soon-to-be mom needs it. No consent from mom is required for this. The IV is usually part of the routine package.
According to What to Expect, doctors will also use IVs to administer fluids during labor to prevent dehydration. Doctors can never allow expectant moms to experience dehydration because it can complicate things. If a mother also decides on an epidural, IV fluids have to get into her body first to reduce the chances of a drop in BP.
5 Quickening Labor If Needed
When moms are in the delivery room, doctors will usually monitor their labor progression. There are those women who dilate quickly while others take time. When this happens, doctors normally put a liquid known as Pitocin in their IVs to help them progress faster. They may not need to get any consent from mom when they do so, but some will inform moms beforehand.
Pitocin can also stimulate or augment the process of increasing contractions as stated by New Kids Center. Moms who undergo induction also take the same med. If labor does not progress as required, the doctor can increase the dose or resolve to other measures.
4 Cleaning With Iodine
When moms hoping to have a natural birth reach full dilation, the next step is to start pushing out the baby. Before she does this, the doctor or nurse will use an iodine solution to clean her lady parts. This happens to prepare mom just in case she tears or needs an episiotomy.
During an episiotomy, the area that the doctors will cut will encounter many body fluids and this why the iodine solution is applied. Doctors do not need consent from mom to do so because they do it to reduce the risk of infection. Doctors also use Iodine before C-sections, according to WHO.
3 Stitching When There's Tearing
After delivery, doctors will not ask mom for consent to stitch tears that might have occurred during birth, they will just do it. Natural tears occur when the baby’s head or shoulders are too large to pass through the bathing canal as claimed by Healthline. Tearing may also occur when doctors use vacuums and forceps because of the increased force on the skin.
The good thing about stitching time is that all the mom is through with the hard work of delivering the baby. Moms who got an epidural will not feel any pain when stitching is being done. Those moms who did not get any pain meds can get it at this point.
2 Laboring Without The Doctor Present
It does not matter whether mom is having her first baby or her fifth one, doctors usually show up in the delivery room when mom is fully dilated and is about to start pushing. They can come once or twice to check on her progress and then leave. They do not need any consent from moms to be away.
There is no rule that says that a doctor has to be present throughout the labor period. TheBump points out that, the nurses a doula or her partner will attend to mom for the greater part of her labor. Sometimes doctors have other laboring moms that they also need to check on and therefore, they may not see much of him or her until it is time to deliver the baby.
1 Total Exposure
Depending on where mom is giving birth, she should know that everyone and anyone who walks into the delivery room is likely to see her lady parts, she might not consent to it, but it happens. Small birthing centers normally have one or two medical staff present.
However, according to BabyCenter, if mom is giving birth in a big hospital she will likely be spread out in front of doctors, nurses, her partner, OB techs, and any other person who walks in and out of the delivery room. While this may sound daunting, mom will probably be in excruciating pain that she will not care about who sees her lady bits.
Sources: webmd.com, tommys.org, mom.me, bellybelly.com.au, kidshealth.org, mayoclinic.org, romper.com, healthcare.utah.edu, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, verywellfamily.com, familydoctor.org, whattoexpect.com, newkidscenter.com, WHO, healthline.com, babycenter.com, thebump.com