6 Tips for Effective Hospital Negotiations
How to ensure that your hospital supports your goals for childbirth.
Is the hospital you’ve chosen totally supportive of the six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices?
Once you educate yourself on the elements of a healthy birth, there may be times you need to advocate for yourself and your baby.
Hopefully you’re able to choose a birthplace that largely supports your goals for birth, but if that’s not possible, here are some suggestions that might make negotiating easier.
1. Talk it out beforehand, and get it in writing.
If something is particularly important to you, talk it over with your midwife or doctor at an office visit. For example, if you know it’s standard for women to get a routine IV in labor, explain your concerns to your provider ahead of time.
If you can agree that you will not have a routine IV for a healthy, normal birth, ask your provider to write that in your chart and either put it in writing on a prescription pad, or sign your birth plan. That way, if your doctor or midwife isn’t in the building when you arrive in labor, you’ll have that piece of paper to back you up.
Individual midwives or doctors usually have the power to override routine policies for their own patients.
2. You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
It’s great when moms and dads are passionate about healthy birth. Unfortunately, sometimes that passion can leave them feeling confrontational. You don’t need to start off with guns blazing.
I suggest to my students that they are firm but very polite when working with the staff. Is continuous monitoring the policy at this hospital? You might say to the nurse, “Our midwife OK’d intermittent monitoring. We’d be so grateful if you could help us with that.” And if her answer is no, try again. “This is so important to us. I know it’s not the standard, but we really appreciate your understanding. We did OK it ahead of time.”
Nurses, midwives and doctors are just people. A gentle approach is usually received much better than angry demands, and you’re more likely to get what you want. Be likeable.