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How not to have a natural birth

Would you give birth here?

In other words...
Because Physicians at Aspen Women's Center care only about doing things their own way and making as much money as possible from unnecessary birth interventions, even if it poses greater risks to the welfare and health  your baby, we will not participate in a "Birth Contract", a doula-assisted, or a Bradley Method delivery. For all patients who have done any research into having the safest birth possible, please notify the nurse so that we can transfer you to a facility that cares less about control and money.

I guess we can at least credit them with warning women in advance. Many hospitals with the same attitude don't have a sign hanging out front.

Thanks to @unnecesarean for alerting me to this picture. Read her post too on this and another OB with a similar policy: An OB's Birth Plan: Obstetrician's Disclosure Sent One Mom Running. You can also check out @summerm's post about this sign: Why Do Doctors Hate Women?
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Reader Comments (65)

this should actually read, "we do not like women to think for themselves, please be a nice sheeple and do as we say and we can attend your birth".


October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlma

This literally makes my stomach turn. How infuriating that people like this are allowed to masquerade as medical professionals. Can you imagine being a first-time mother, uncertain of yourself and your decisions, and seeing this? How it would make you feel? Ugh.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTatiana

@Alma: Yes...that is another more succinct but accurate interpretation of that awful sign.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Tatiana: I hope it would make that first-time mother go running scared and find another care provider.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

The fact that they spelled doula incorrectly says a lot.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Wow! That's amazing. I switched hospitals (to an amazingly wonderful midwifery group) late in my pregnancy because of my OB's feelings on natural birth too. I was sort of shy about approaching the subject with my OB (ridiculous, I know. I'd be a lot different now), so I waited until I thought it might be appropriate and mumbled something like, "so, umm, when can I ask you some questions about the birth process?" "Like what?" "Well, how about natural birth... I mean, do a lot of your patients have unmedicated births?" "No, ALL of my patients receive an epidural." "Oh, OK. Do you have a form for transferring my medical records to another practice?" Rough paraphrasing of our conversation. I'm glad I found out sooner rather than later, so the only good thing I can say about that sign is that it's better women know now rather that mid labor. Still, shameful though.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Oh. my.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTulipGirl

@Lynn: It is so important to ask those questions. It obviously isn't a guarantee of a good outcome, but it can certainly give you good warning of an almost certain bad outcome.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Jamie: I know...like they think it is some "fluffy" thing like a "loofah" or something.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I'm actually stunned at this, and at the note given to the other woman at your link.

Honest to God, my high risk OB would fucking kick his ass for saying any of this. He says that it's docs like him who give OBs and hospitals a bad name. Not one of these things is ever required at my hospital. None. And some of them are not allowed at all, because for example, it is PROVEN safer to let the cord pulse for a while, (unless you are hemorraging, which is stupendously rare.) I thought I'd have to ask for that, but my L&D nurse said it was standard policy now.

And he can do a crash section in under one minute, which he proved in my case, without ever needing to stop for IVs or anything. That's what anesthesia masks are for. That's what spinal blocks are for. Emergencies. Honestly, this makes me so angry I want to kick their asses myself.

I know that cases like mine are the ones used to scare the hell out of women and Doctors in training. But we are the rare and exceptional outliers and seriously, I hate being turned into the boogeyman. Why can't these idiots just accept that it is possible to have a birth in a nice homey room, with no interventions, unless you need them? Put the equipment in the corner, down the hall, but forcing everyone to be the same, doesn't help at all.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAurelia

Like minds, I blogged about this too. LOL

it's absolutely infuriating, but at least the doctor had the courage to put it out there from the start. It's the ones who wait until your dilated to 4 to suddenly bust out their issues that really get under my skin.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

Wow. I can't believe a birthing centre would post such a sign. It's quite different from the place where I gave birth (BC Women's Hospital). Unfortunately I wasn't able to have a natural birth but at least I had the option. I feel sorry for all the women (and children) who go to this place.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

That makes me so angry, my blood boils. Seriously... I can't believe some hospital would do that, let alone post it on a sign.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMissy @ Marketing Mama

How horrible! But, I guess it is better to know in advance than have the bait and switch that many other providers do.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermamaseoul

Hey! I know that place- it's only a few miles from where I live! Lucky me.

I actually heard about this sign at the local natural birth support meetings. I haven't actually seen it myself, but the "Aspen doesn't let you have a 'doulah'" has hit my ears before. Ugh.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTopHat

May I go out on a limb and suggest that if they truly cared about "the welfare and health of your unborn child" they wouldn't have this degrading and ridiculous policy. Unfortunately they are proving the point that our doctors don't always have OUR best interests in mind. Birth as Assembly Line might as well be their slogan. My goodness.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnagrace

I've run into accounts of this a couple times recently, but I'm not overly familiar with the Bradley birth method specifically. What does that birth method promote that raises the hackles against it?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I'm conflicted about this sign and about the note in the link you posted. On one hand, I'm glad they are upfront so women can know to avoid them. On the other hand, it horrifies me that they are so not ashamed of their practices! At least the doctors and hospitals who pay lipservice to natural birth before pushing all the interventions realize on some level that natural birth actually is preferable.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChanna

They get one point for honesty, but minus 100 points for being ondescending bullies.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Why are they so threatened by doulas? My hospital offered them for only $100 and I was thankful to have her there. Maybe my experience was atypical but my OB listened to me. When I said no episiotomy they tried massage but ultimately had to let me tear. No one pushed the epidural but rather waited for me to ask for it which after my ordeal of induction was very necessary. Again induction was not even pushed on me it was just necessary for safety due to my pregnancy. I feel bad for the women that choose to deliver at this hospital. Medical treatment should be about options and informed decisions on the patient's part.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Wow. At least they are honest, I guess...

With my first I had an OB, and she looked at me like I had two heads when I asked about delaying clamping and cutting the cord. She had never heard of it. And later when I asked if we could discuss a birth plan, she laughed and said that at the hospital, they joked whenever a woman came to them with a birth plan, they signed them up for a C-section right away because invariably, things went wrong.

Unfortunately I didn't really know better at the time; I had much more knowledge the second time around and went with a midwife, and had a much better experience. I also learned a lot of things I should have learned during my first pregnancy (e.g. WHY certain tests are performed, the fact that I could opt out of tests, etc.). I find so many first-time moms-to-be are afraid to consider midwifery, but really, they are the ones who would benefit most from that model of care!

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

@Nicole: They are threatened by doulas because doulas are knowledgeable.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

This is actually illegal. It is a violation of EMTALA http://www.cms.hhs.gov/emtala/ to refuse care to a woman presenting in labor. People in Colorado need to start complaining about this. The link has details on how to file a complaint. Serves them right to call CMS down on them!

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha McCormick, CNM

Wow... that is harsh. I have to say, I had the best Ob-Gyn ever. She's been my gyny since I was like, 18 years old. And we have a great relationship. When I was first pregnant, the first time, I told her I wnated a c-section, no questions. She nicely talked me out of choosing elective surgery, but supported me, saying that I should just give natural labour - and i wanted a epidural, sure - and then see how it went. Perfect. I got all the info I needed, some paperwork to fill out, like if I had a midwife, do I want an epidural, who would I allow into the room, etc. - basically a birth plan - and anyway, all I wanted was a healthy baby. I had the world's easiest labour both times. I think it was only a few hours of labour, pushed for 4 to 6 minutes, no joke. I LOVED the quality of care I received - huge private room, nurses in the room all the time, caring, loving nurses whom I wanted to take home with me, and my Ob-Gyn coming in to check on me throughout the day... and deliver my baby. (the second time around, the first time around, another Ob-Gyn delivered my baby, and he happened to have also delivered my sister!) Anyway... my story doesn't fit in here, but I've rambled this much already so I'm going to his 'submit' now! I think it's important for every pregnant lady to feel that her concerns and wishes are honoured and respeceted, that's all.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

"I'm the decider I get to decide" comes to mind :)

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I always thought the big 'trust birth' poster in my midwives office was a little cheesy. Now that I've seen the alternative, I think it's truly marvelous. Really.

I must have not been sufficiently concerned about the health and welfare of my unborn children. Us moms, we just don't know what's good for us, do we? Always trying to risk our own lives and our babies. I suppose that's why I spent so much time researching carseats and making my own organic baby food. I just don't care. (Insert BIG eyeroll here.)

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Good grief! That's insane. I guess it's good that they're upfront about it, but sheesh!

I'm a Bradley mom. There is NOTHING dangerous or risky about it. The method is simply to have your husband coach you through it (with the midwife's/doctor's assistance of course) and to have an unmedicated birth. It teaches you how to relax and work through the contractions and it teaches you about what your body will do so you'll know what to expect.

I would absolutely avoid this hospital.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKacie

The sign translates to: "We don't think you really know what you are talking about, and if we do what you want, your baby will die and we will get sued. So please shut up so we can mark things off on our little forms in case you decide to sue us anyway."

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKayris

I'll never forget the first time I watched an OB flat-out lie to a patient. She knew, the minute that lie left her lips, that I knew; she looked at me and fear filled her eyes.

One of the biggest reasons I'm a doula today is because of that OB.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErinn

@Samantha McCormick: Just to clarify, this OB practice is in Utah, not Colorado, so it'd be Utah's version of CMS which would enforce the law. But EMTALA is a federal law, yes?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErinn

It reads to me like an a doctor's office, not a hospital?

So you wouldn't have women presenting for labor and delivery, rather for prenatal care. It would be no issue for them to transfer you off if you did not want to comply with their ideas.

Either way, it's the most ridiculous thing ever.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertjwriter

I would not go there for prenatal care. But, like what's been said above, at least they state it clearly. The OB (with midwives) practice that I used for my first pregnancy was essentially the same (bullying and anti-patient) except they pretended they were otherwise at the beginning.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJane


I agree. There are some great OBs out there and they all get a bad name because of idiots like this. Unfortunately with group practices like so many hospitals now have, you are taking a gamble. You might see your OB, or you might see someone else.

With my first birth, I saw the same OB all the way through my pregnancy and then had a different doctor, who I had never met before, deliver my baby. It was odd.

With my second birth, I went with an OB at the high risk clinic at the Ottawa General. That meant that I saw whoever was on duty at each appointment that I went to. A lot of people might think that is a bad thing. For me, it was perfect. I got to meet every doctor that could possibly be delivering my baby. I got to talk through my birth plan with several of them and gauge reactions to the things I wanted. I felt immediately comfortable when I arrived at the hospital in labour because (a) my doula was on her way and (b) I knew the doctor who was on duty.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Marilyn: I feel sorry for them too. Especially if they believe what is on that sign.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting


I think you should go and nurse your toddler on the steps in front of the entrance. That is probably on their list of things that is not allowed too.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Summer: Great post too! I just updated the post to link to yours as well.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting


Here is a quote from the http://www.bradleybirth.com/FAQs.aspx" rel="nofollow">Bradley Birth website:

The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally. The Bradley Method® is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body. The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies using natural breathing, relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and education.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Erinn: I guess we should thank that OB for being a jerk then. We need more doulas!

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Loukia: Sounds like you had a great OB-GYN! Did you deliver at the General?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@tjwriter: I'm not sure. I don't know how things work in Utah. We have some freestanding birth centres here, I just assumed it could be something similar. But even if it is a doctor's office and you wouldn't actually be giving birth there, the attitude is awful!

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

No way! That is hilarious. I live in Utah and can vouch that there are many many other offices that do "allow" the above, as I did all of the above and wasn't transfered ;)

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Oh my gosh, that's awful!
I'd be boycotting that hospital for sure... though I guess I'm a hospital boycotter either way since I had my baby in my bedroom ^_^

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDesiree Fawn

@Marie: I'm glad that women in Utah have other options. It is truly sad that this even passes as acceptable.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Desiree Fawn: That is indeed a great place to have a baby! I do believe wholeheartedly though that women who do not want to or cannot give birth at home should still not have to deal with such ridiculous practices. Banning things that make birth safer is ridiculous.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

YIKES! But at least they are open about their practices. I certainly wouldn't set foot in a place like that.

I attended Bradley classes, had a doula, and only went to the hospital 20 minutes before my son was born. They didn't get to manipulate me :) I knew to stay as far away as possible for as long as possible, and I had a beautiful, natural, birth experience.

It's all about education. The more I educated myself, the more I learned about hospital practices, being put on the clock, etc. I can only encourage women to read as much as possible, hospitals don't always know what is best for you and the baby. They only care about their bottom line and lawsuits. It's so unfortunately that lawsuits have gotten so out of hand that we now have this kind of situation.

Utah is a big state though. I wonder how far the nearest facility is that a laboring woman could go to?

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia


"You dumb woman. Me smart doctor. Stop thinking and do what I say. Your intuition and preferences don't matter. My ego does."

Good. I'm *SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad someone actually made this sign because it so blatantly portrays the energy of the modern birth world. Women, get riled up. Start yelling, writing letters, tweeting, whatever. Even if you want an elective-C or an epidural, are you really ready give up your rights to birth how you choose? This isn't about natural birth or doulas or whatever, this is about the fear of women's power.

Get over it OBs. You practice in a new world and if you don't adjust you will be out of business, because American women want something else. And we are finally going to stand up and take action.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

dr. bradley was also one of the major players (if not THEE player) in getting husbands/male partners at the side and involved with their wife's labour. that was what came to my mind first - they dont want daddy in there seeing how crappily they are treating their partner/child(ren).

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjillian

Thanks Annie and Jillian.
That's pretty awful. And I would raise so much hell if they didn't allow my husband in.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

That's just horrifying. I wanted to have an unmedicated birth on my most recent, and had to transfer OBs to have a chance, as it would have been a VBAC. Things didn't work out as I hoped, ending in another C, but at least the OB was very willing to let me try for it.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

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