Giving Birth in a Catholic Hospital| Fit Pregnancy

Giving Birth at a Catholic Hospital?

Things you need to know if your beliefs don’t align.


Tubal ligations (surgical procedures that result in permanent sterilization) are also prohibited in the Catholic Church, but there are ways around the mandate—even in Catholic hospitals. When a woman wants her tubes tied, her doctor writes a letter to the ethics review board stating the medical reasons why tubal ligation is in her best interest—usually because of potential medical complications based on the mother’s age, health status or risks associated with having more pregnancies. If she needs to have a C-section, her doctor will appeal based on saving the mother a second surgery in a different hospital. Usually, in the hospitals where I worked, permission was granted and the woman received her tubal ligation. When permission was denied, she either delivered without the procedure, or had it done at another hospital.

Related: Why You Don’t Want a C-Section

Worth noting: Even through controversial policies, I’ve seen a lot of good come out of Catholic hospitals. I’ve had staunchly non-religious patients request a priest to bless their babies after they’re born and families who request prayers during hard deliveries. I’ve even seen one priest deliver a baby in the hospital lobby for a mother who couldn’t wait to get to the maternity ward. I’ve seen Catholic hospitals make patients’ bills disappear when they were unable to pay.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. Occasionally, patients object to delivering in a hospital whose religious undertones conflict with their own views. Others make do with the hospital nearest to them. The most important thing is doing your research beforehand.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.


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