One of the biggest challenges of giving birth unassisted is getting a birth certificate after the fact. As expected, each state has its own rules and regulations regarding the reporting of a birth. When there is a medical attendant such as a midwife or doctor, you don’t have to worry about this part. Your provider will report the birth for you, and all you have to do is order a copy of the birth certificate. However, when you give birth unassisted, you have to do both.

Where to Go First

Every state is different when it comes to birth certificates. Most likely, you’ll want to go to the place where you would order a birth certificate first. This agency is often called Office of Vital Records and Statistics. It may be part of the Health Department. You’re going to have to speak to one of the employees there and let them know that you need to report a birth. It helps if you tell them that your baby was or is going to be born at home. Hopefully, this will get you the paperwork you need.

Don’t Wait until after the Birth

It’s quite possible that your state requires you to submit proof of your pregnancy or prenatal records in order to let you report a birth. That’s why it makes sense to get the appropriate forms before you give birth. Obviously, it’s difficult to obtain proof of your pregnancy once you’re no longer pregnant. Generally, it’s probably easiest to provide as much proof as they ask for. It may be extra trouble for you, but getting a birth certificate and a social security card for your baby is important.

Here is a list of things you may be asked to provide:

  • Proof of your pregnancy
  • Copy of your prenatal records
  • Signed affidavit of your birth attendant (usually your partner)
  • Letter from a doctor who examined the baby after birth
  • Church records (for example, your baby’s baptism)
  • Proof of residency (mortgage statement, utility bills, etc.)
  • DNA test to prove the baby is yours (shouldn’t be necessary)

You should know that if people give you a hard time, it’s time to assert yourself. You have the RIGHT to get a birth certificate for your baby no matter how difficult they want to make it for you. Don’t give up!

Why Is It So Difficult to Report a Birth?

Obviously, you don’t want everybody reporting births that didn’t happen. In order to keep public records straight, they need some proof of your baby being born. If it were easy to report a birth, lots of people would do so, even if it’s just to be able to claim a child on their income tax return. Generally, in order to report a birth, you may be required to submit proof of your pregnancy, proof of residency, and proof of the baby’s existence.