Am I Allowed?

Am I Allowed?

“Am I allowed to…” 

“Can I….” 

“Do I have to….”


{Warning: I’m feeling a bit feisty today.} 

I’ve always respected doctors. They spend a decade or more of their lives learning, learning, learning, in order to serve other people in their times of need, whether those are times of illness, concern, emergency, or birth.

The thing is, I think many have forgotten about the serving part. 

Now of course there are so many doctors who are compassionate, and perhaps some of their practices’ policies are due to insurance company demands more than how they would like things to go. The unfortunate part is that it’s tough to tell sometimes. 

When a client asks me, “Am I allowed to _____?” I have one answer: 



YOU are an adult woman who can make her own decisions. You are in charge of those decisions. You don’t need to be “allowed” to do anything in regards to labor and birth. 

  • You don’t need a doctor’s permission to walk around during labor. 
  • You don’t need a doctor’s permission to eat during labor. 
  • You don’t need a doctor’s permission to push in a certain position. 
  • You don’t need anyone’s permission to decline a vaginal exam. 

Somewhere along the line society decided that the medical establishment was the gatekeeper of decisions. I don’t agree. 

You hire doctors to provide you with the best information and care possible. You don’t hire doctors to make all your decisions for you. When your intelligence, experience, and intuition is giving you a different solution than a doctor is, ask yourself, why? Is it life-threatening? Do you trust this person? Are they suggesting what’s best for YOU and YOUR BABY, or what’s easiest for them to get this labor moving so it fits an outdated, unscientific timeline of what they think labor should look like? 

I recently heard a story of a home birth during which the laboring woman had a 25 hour rest period (no contractions) between when she was fully dilated and when she actually began pushing. That is a long time! If she had been in a hospital it would never have been “allowed.” Her home birth midwife was patient, and that mother and baby were healthy throughout and after labor and birth. 

That woman listened to her body and trusted the process. That woman’s midwife did the same.

Birth is not a pathology to be managed. 

Birth is a normal, healthy, physiological process to be respected and watch unfold. 

So clients, the next time you catch yourself thinking, “Am I allowed to….”, please remember that you are. Trust the people who respect you and want to help you achieve your goals for your baby’s birth. Make good, healthy decisions for yourself and your baby. If a doctor says, “We don’t allow our patients to…..”, I’d seriously consider hiring a new one.