HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Laurie Shifler, pregnant with her eighth child, assumed that family members would again be able to film her giving birth, but hospital officials said no.

On Nov. 1, Meritus Medical Center implemented a policy prohibiting video, film and still photography of deliveries until five minutes after birth. The change is intended to protect patient privacy and reduce potential staff distractions, said Jody Bishop, administrative director of the department that includes the hospital’s birthing center.

“Five minutes after the birth, if everybody’s well and the physician approves, they can go ahead and start videotaping and taking pictures,” Bishop told The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail.

But Shifler and husband Michael, of Cascade, say they’d like to capture the entire delivery.

“You can’t get back those first moments,” Mrs. Shifler said. “There’s no redo.”

Meritus spokeswoman Mary Rizk said Monday that the policy is in line with those at regional medical centers in Baltimore, Annapolis and western Maryland.

“The intent is for the physicians and midwives and staff to be able to focus on the delivery itself and on the safety of the mom and baby,” Rizk said.

Officials at hospitals in nearby Martinsburg, W.Va., and Waynesboro and Chambersburg, Pa., said they allow delivery room cameras.

American Hospital Association spokesman Matt Fenwick said the group doesn’t track the number of hospitals that allow delivery photography. He said such decisions are up to individual hospitals.

Rachel Seeger, a spokeswoman for the U.S. office of Civil Rights, said birth photography by a family member or friend doesn’t violate privacy laws, but that some hospitals prohibit the practice out of a fear of lawsuits.

Frederick Memorial Hospital in nearby Frederick, Md., implemented a similar ban on delivery room cameras in 2001 after a doctor had to push a photographer aside to assist with a difficult delivery. The hospital reversed the policy after several women’s groups gathered about 200 signatures protesting it.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (10)
  1. scannerman says:

    They shouldn’t even have a Camera in th Delivey Room. In case they want to post it as a NUDY Picture.

  2. Das Jamie Erfahrung says:

    Seirously? People are upset cuz they can’t wait until 5 minutes after? Or am I missing something here?

  3. timp says:

    some people want to see that crowning moment….. and to have a record incase anything goes wrong. that’s what the hospital is affraid of… a record of any snafu’s…

  4. John Holmes says:

    We had our Son at harbor hospital in 06 and the doctor told us no camera for the first five mintues !! did not see the big deal with it…andstill dont see a problem ..

  5. samantha says:

    i have a seriously problem wit the 1st 5 mins because that is usually thee best pictures as soon as the child comes out of the mother & is placed on her stomach 4 mommy & child brief bondin while they are semi wiped down b4 weighin & measurements. i have 2 kids delivered them both at bayview & was very blessed that they allowed pictures to be takin. i understand not during actual labor process & delivery put as soon as the child is out than u should be able 2 snap & film away.like the person said earlier

    “You can’t get back those first moments,” Mrs. Shifler said. “There’s no redo.”

    && some mothers like myself cherish & want those 1st moments caputured anyway possible.

  6. pearl says:

    Personally it should be up to the mom/family.. Sounds like the docs /hospital don’t want it because of potential lawsuits in case something goes wrong. What is the big deal? They aren’t asking the doctor to do the photographs, are they?? If not, it should be whatever the mom/family decide

  7. Poca says:

    I agree with Samantha,
    My husband cut the cord and we have pictures of that they didnt aloud video them but this was in 1990 but I had a camera and we had all the 1st shots and wouldnt have wanted to miss that at all.

  8. Concerned says:

    You don’t see the problem with it? This is sensorship and a violation of your rights. If you don’t care about your rights, you shouldn’t be giving birth.

  9. John says:

    First off it is spelled “censorship”. I agree with the policy. You have the right to have your baby somewhere else if you dont like the rule. Taking those pictures is just sick anyway. I never understood it, who wants to see that??!!

  10. Danielle says:

    When I had my kids, I wil ladmit that I did not want any photography when I was in labor or a camera between my legs; however, the pictures of my children on the scale being weighed is priceless. I don’t agree with the rule at all. As long as individuals are not getting in the way of the doctors, I do not see a problem.

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