Expert Advice

What Does “Managed Birth” Mean?

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Your doctor just said she’s going to manage your birth, but what does she mean? The difference between a managed birth and a natural one is intervention.

A managed birth approach may or may not affect your birth plan.

If you planned on having an all-natural birth but that desire has to be adjusted because of health or safety issues, some changes are inevitable but you may still be able to have some of your birth preferences.

If you always intended on the hospital taking charge of your labor and delivery, your birth plan may not be affected by your doctor stepping in to manage your labor and delivery.

What are the differences between natural and managed birth?

In a natural birth you let Mother Nature take the lead and show the way. You use breathing, position changes, massage, and movement to roll with her demands as your uterus contracts, your baby moves down and out, and your placenta is delivered.

In a managed birth, technology works alongside or instead of Mother Nature, and you probably will have to give your informed consent.

Ways of managing your birth:

  • Inducing labor
  • Controlling your pain with medicine
  • Inserting a catheter
  • Confining you to bed
  • Monitoring the fetal heart rate using an internal or external fetal heart monitor
  • Withholding food and drink
  • Breaking your water bag
  • Repeat vaginal exams
  • Performing episiotomy
  • Using forceps and/or suction to pull baby out
  • Performing a cesarean section

Almost all of these methods are used in managed hospital births, although some midwives may decide— when it’s necessary for your health or baby’s—to induce labor or manage labor’s 3rd stage with medication.

What is your care provider’s approach to labor and delivery management?

You have months of growing baby and writing your birth plan to find out if your doctor or hospital prefers active managed birth and whether that matches your own birth preferences. Prenatal appointments are perfect for asking your care provider what happens if you go past your due date, labor slows in the middle, or your placenta takes a long time to come out.

Depending on your personality, a managed birth can give you a sense of safety because you don’t have to make decisions during labor, or it can make you feel vulnerable from a lack of control.

If you lean toward a natural birth and your care provider leans toward a managed birth, can you find a compromise? Be sure you include this compromise in your final birth plan, the one listed on your hospital bag checklist.


To learn more about pregnancy tips, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.

This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.

Published: February 27, 2018 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: February, 2018


Sabriga TurgonWhat Does “Managed Birth” Mean?

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