Pregnancy, Parenthood & Playtime

Doula, Birth Advocate, Aspiring Midwife, Mother, and Wife

Avoiding Common Hospital Interventions


Today, childbirth has become more of a medical procedure than a natural function of our bodies. Many women who do have a desire for a natural birth are often looking for resources and information on how to achieve that experience. A great resource I have come across several times in my journey to becoming a childbirth educator in recent months is a website called Mother’s Advocate. They offer a wonderful plethora of videos aimed to help in the teaching process.

The video I am going to use today is Avoiding Unnecessary Interventions, while writing a little of my own thoughts.

Realistically, if you truly want to avoid the common hospital interventions, the best place for you to give birth is either at home, or a child birth center. In my experience personally, it can be an uncomfortable or stressful fight with hospital staff to avoid simple things like an IV line. But it all goes back to birthing where you feel comfortable.

What are some of the common medical interventions during birth?

  • An IV for Fluids
  • Epidural Anesthesia
  • Electronic Fetal Monitoring
  • Pitocin
  • Breaking the bag of water
  • Episiotomy

Most of which are unnecessary in many of the cases we see them in today, an IV for example. The purpose of an IV could be cut by simply allowing a woman to eat and drink during labor. Recent studies show that there is no need to starve a woman while she is in labor.

Constant electronic fetal monitoring is also overkill in low risk women, in recent years The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has shown that in the 40 years electronic fetal monitoring has been the norm, there has been no improved outcomes in mothers or babies. Of course like anything, there are some situations when necessary, but mostly in high risk cases.

Epidurals for those who choose to use them for labor can be the right fit, but they are not risk free. Epidurals can slow labor, or pose other risks to mothers and babies. There are various ways to help relieve the pain of labor.

Pitocin can cause contractions, but it can also cause contractions that are too strong resulting in fetal distress, or the cascade of interventions.

Episiotomy has been shown in recent years to be medically unnecessary in the majority of cases it is taking place in.

Skipping these common Interventions :

There are several ways you can go about skipping the routine hospital interventions listed above. Some of the ways you can do that are :

  • Hire a birth doula
  • Write a birth plan, or your wishes for birth
  • Talk to your provider about your expectations of case, or practices and procedures you are not comfortable with.
  • Take a tour of the hospital you will be giving birth at.
  • Research their statistics for intervention before giving birth there.

All of these can help to lower your changes of these common medical interventions having an impact on your desire for a natural birth.

Danielle Elwood