Whether you choose to labour in hospital, in a birth centre or at home, you have the right to:
1. Choose where to give birth
2. Give your consent to any treatment, procedure or drug
3. Refuse care
4. Refuse to participate in any treatment, procedure or drug
5. Withdraw your consent
6. The same tests and services available to women who choose to give birth in hospital
7. Emergency care
9. Maintain your dignity
11. Complain if you are unhappy with any aspect of the care
In a country where women supposedly have won the right to reproductive health care, women are losing the right to natural childbirth without medical intervention.
— Agnes, mother of 7 children
The World Health Orgainsation (WHO) acknowledges that every women has the right to choose the type of care she and her baby receive, to have access to information about her health and options and to information about the intervention rates of local maternity services. WHO also recommends:
- Women should be able to move around during labour and choose a position for birth
- Electronic monitoring of the baby’s heart in labour should not be routine.
- Drugs should not be routinely used
- Babies should not be separated from their mothers and breastfeeding should be promoted.
- Labour should not be induced for anyone’s convenience; the rate should not be higher than 10 percent.
- Artifical rupture of membranes should not be routine.
- Episiotomies should be avoided
- The caesarean rate in any region should be no higher than 10 to 15 percent.
Source: “Having a Baby” 1997 Carol Fallows