Three Common Hospital Birth Procedures that Your Infant May or May Not Need

I’m a huge advocate of knowing your choices in anything really.  I’m an information junkie so when it comes to knowing lots of “stuff” you can count me in.  I like to be educated when making choices for myself because as I have walked through life I realized that I would much rather make them myself than have someone make them for me (even a trusted care giver).  Although, I am so thankful for specialized professions like doctors, lawyers, teachers, so on and so forth I also know that as human beings, no matter the specialized education often bring certain biases to the table and ways of living.  I believe that doing your own research for your choices and gathering all the information you need to make a decision is the most important step to discovering what is really right for you and your family.

Last Friday on May 25th we welcomed our third child into the world.  Sweet Piper Grace was born at 12:18am, weighed 9 pounds 6 ounces, and was 18 inches long.  During each and every birth I have changed my birth plan quite a bit as I have learned more and more about hospital procedures and what I feel is absolutely necessary for me and my family.  It doesn’t matter if you are having your first child or your third child I would like to challenge you to think through and research all the choices that you have when it comes to your infant after having birth in a hospital.  Much of the reason that I decided to become a childbirth doula was to help support women in know choices during their childbirth experiences.  I love it when women are empowered to know how to make confident choices towards their care.

Here are three common infant hospital procedures that you should be aware of and a few facts about them so that you can make an educated decision when having a hospital birth:

Hepatitis B shot – Vaccines are so controversial these days.  Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver, the ways to get it are to have unprotected sex with an infected person, to share needles, getting a tattoo when the needles haven’t been cleaned, or sharing personal items with an infected person.  In my understanding it is given routinely to infants just in case mom is infect or if mom might live or be around infected people.  I personally opt out because the chances that my infant will get Hep B are rare rare rare rare.  But, I encourage you to make the best choice for you and your infant.  

Vitamin K shot –  Did you know that all babies develop their own vitamin K eight days after birth?  Vitamin K is what helps the blood to clot.  Since infants may not make their own vitamin K right away this shot helps to prevent any problems with bleeding and clotting  Vitamin K might be important to give your infant boy if you plan to circumcise right awayThere are a few ways to give vitamin K, there is also an oral option that doesn’t include a needle.  But, if you want to go this route you might have to provide your own.  Your hospital may not provide it for you. 

Erythromycin drops –  These drops are given to infants to prevent infection during the trip down the birth canal.  They are an antibiotic for the eyes.  They are  not necessary if you have a Cesarian birth for any reason.  Typically, eye infections can cause blindness and are caused by gonorrhea and chlamydia.  These drops help to prevent these possible complications.

Remember, you have the option to accept or refuse any of these common infant procedures.  Make sure you research each one of them well so that you are confident in your decision.  Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean that you have to do it too. Make the decision that is best for you and your baby!



  1. I chose to have a homebirth after my 3 child was delivered cesarean since our hospital does not allow for VBAC. However, my 4th child (and only daughter) was difficult to deliver (she weighed 10# 7oz) and I ended up needing another cesarean. The pediatrician on call, who was not our pediatrician, was not happy at all that I decided to forgo those three chooses and in fact reported me to the hospital’s risk management department as well as children’s services. In the end it turned out fine, but doctor’s can be very arrogant in thinking they know what is best.

    • Carol I agree. I’m so sorry that the doc reported you like that. As if you couldn’t make your own health choices for your newborn child. And, as if you didn’t want what was best for your little one. That is why I find it so incredibly important to educate ourselves all we can, so when we come across docs like that or people like that we can confidently speak out about why we chose to make those choices.