Prenatal & Birth Care
What types of prenatal and birth care are available?
There are several different types of care providers, like midwives and doctors, who offer prenatal (pregnancy) care and attend births. There are also different places people give birth, including hospitals, birth centers, or at home.
There are different options for support during labor, pain management, and several medical interventions you may be offered, such as labor induction or c-section.
Who can make decisions about my pregnancy and birth?
I want to give birth. What do I do next?
There may be a lot of decisions to make about your care and your birth. Remember that you do not have to decide everything at once, and you are allowed to change your mind if it turns out a decision you have made doesn't work for you. This Birth Justice Toolkit for young people might be helpful in starting to think about the prenatal care and birth you want.
Once you know what type of provider and birth place you want, you will need to find one that is nearby. You will also need to find a provider who accepts the payment options you have available, which might include insurance or out-of-pocket. If you have insurance, you may wish to get a list of providers from your insurance company that are "in network". Often insurance companies have an online portal that allows
At all times while you receive pregnancy care, including during labor and birth, you have the right to:
- Decide where you will give birth and who will be present
- Decide what you will do during labor, including movement, eating and drinking, and pain control techniques
- Informed Consent: to receive information about a treatment that your provider recommends or offers, including the benefits of the treatment, the risks involved, the other options available, and what happens if you do nothing, and then to make your own decision based on that information*
- Refuse treatment for yourself and your children
*a note on informed consent: even if you sign a consent form, you have the right to take back your consent at any time for any reason
Right By You can provide more information on finding a nearby provider who will support your birth plan, and we can connect you with professionals or organizations that offer childbirth education and support. We can also help you figure out what kind of insurance coverage you have, or if you do not have insurance that covers prenatal and birth care, what other options you may have. We can also provide more information on your rights in childbirth and what you can do if you think your rights have been violated. Text us at 855-458-0886.
Pregnant people under age 18 in Missouri have the right to consent to any medical treatment other than abortion care. Young people have the right to decide whether they will give birth in the hospital, a birth center or at home. They have the right to decide which type(s) of provider they will see for prenatal care and during your birth, though their method of payment (for example, type of health insurance, lack of health insurance or choice to pay out-of-pocket) may impact which providers are available. They also have the right to decide on the types of pain management they want, and whether they want any medical interventions like labor induction or cesarean surgery.