Why obtain your medical records?

Download this information as a PDF below. Colour copies of this brochure are available upon emailed request.

Accessing your medical records_B&W_April13

Accessing your medical records after a Caesarean can be beneficial when considering subsequent pregnancies or making future birthing choices – it is important to be fully informed about your previous birth, especially when you are planning your next.

Quite often during a Caesarean birth, women are unable to see all that happens to them. Your memories of your birth might be blurred and you may be left with many questions about the circumstances of your labour and delivery.

The process of reading through your medical records can help you to find answers to some of the lingering questions you have about your previous birth. Conversely, these notes may inspire a fresh line of questioning. If your birth experience was traumatic, the task of reading through and making sense of your medical records and why/how your birth unfolded as it did might also assist with the healing process.

At the same time, you can also request the medical records for your baby – you may learn something about your baby’s early care of which you were not aware.

Your medical records should provide you with information about*:

  • The officially documented reason for your Caesarean delivery
  • How far you progressed during labour (dilation)
  • The positioning of the baby (posterior, anterior, transverse, breech)
  • The incision method (transverse or vertical)
  • The incision closure method (sutures or staples)
  • What happened during your time in recovery
  • The subsequent treatment you received
  • The treatment your baby received

How to obtain a copy of your medical records

Contact the medical records officer at the hospital in which you had your Caesarean birth. Request a copy of your full medical records and notes. Most hospitals charge an administration fee for this service and you may need to complete and submit a form to initiate the process.

*CARES Inc. recommends that you read your medical records with the support of at least one trusted midwife, doctor, obstetrician or medically trained professional so that:
1) You can clarify the meaning of the medical terminology included within your birth notes; and
2) You can begin interpreting content of your medical records within the context of your birth. Be aware that your notes represent the formally documented opinions of your care provider/s and, although this is an official document, it is one version of events told from a particular point of view for a specific purpose. As a consumer, it is perfectly reasonable to question the content and accuracy of your notes and to request further information if you need it.

If you are looking for a medically trained professional with whom to read your records, our directory page could be a starting point. Please email us if you would like further information about how obtaining your notes might benefit you.