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Maryland Hospital Bans Photo Use During Childbirth

childbirth video, video of childbirth, labor and delivery

How important was it for you to capture the first five minutes of your child's life on video?

Would you sacrifice the photo memory of your child’s first minutes of life for your doctor or hospital? Some moms may have to do just that if they deliver in hospitals with photo restrictions.

A hospital in Maryland has imposed a photo and video ban for expectant moms during delivery. At Meritus Medical Center, photos can be taken leading up to delivery, but the actual birth cannot be taped and no photos can be taken until five minutes after the baby is born.

You can imagine, it has many area moms up in arms, and forced to make some tough decisions, especially if their obstetrician only delivers at that hospital.

Meritus Medical Center maintains that the policy was created to protect the well-being of mom and baby. After five minutes, once the baby is stable and the doctor approves, photos and videos can be brought out again. The hospital says this new protocol helps staff do their job without becoming distracted in the vital moments when immediately accessing a newborn. Nearby Frederick Memorial Hospital had the same ban enacted in 2001 after a doctor had to push a relative out of the way to aid in a difficult delivery, but the rule was ultimately overturned after a protest.

I have to confess I don’t have any of my children’s actual births on tape. I had natural childbirth and I’m also way too self conscious to have my screams and shrieks documented. But I do have photos from the moments immediately following. My mother took the pictures and stayed in the background (out of the medical staff’s way) the entire time. Our midwife encouraged the photos and didn’t feel that the safety of the baby was being compromised by taking pictures.

One has to wonder how much legalities (or the repercussions surrounding them) have enacted the change and more importantly, if the regulation might become a standard, rather than an exception at hospitals. If safety is truly the issue behind it, I’m all for it, but I think there are other possible ways to keep mom and baby safe, yet still capture the moment. With technology so integrated in our daily lives, and newborn photos immediately posted to Facebook and Twitter, it’s a concern that the old school doctors and lawyers just haven’t had to address until recently.

With overzealous families who come in droves, I can see how too many people in the room snapping flashing lights might interfere with medical procedure. Perhaps that should be judged on a case-by-case basis, rather than become a blanket rule. In fact, most hospitals politely give visiting family and friends the boot when the delivery takes place, and request only one or two people to be allowed in the room during birth, which is a good way to narrow down the distractions.

Many moms want to film and keep the entire birth on video for memories, or to show to distant relatives who couldn’t make it, or just simply a memento for the family. I think it’s a reasonable enough request when it doesn’t compromise medical procedure.

Would you boycott your local hospital if you could not take video or photos of your actual delivery?

Image: Wikipedia

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