If you are planning to give birth or if you have recently given birth in or near Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find this read pretty interesting!
Did you know, after giving birth at the hospital you are not issued a birth certificate for the baby before you leave?? You have to follow certain steps outside the hospital in order to get the official birth certificate for your new born child.
& If you don’t have the baby at the hospital, there are even more steps to follow before obtaining a birth certificate for your child.
I had two kids in Arizona, one birth was in the hospital and one birth was at home. I’m going to tell you about the process for both as I was completely blindsided and unprepared.
I was under the impression that before leaving the hospital, all the necessary steps to register a new born as a state resident, of the United States, would be completed in the hospital. I thought every new parent left the hospital with the official birth certificate and social security card identifying their new born child.
Boy… was I wrong!
How Do I Get the Birth Certificate for a Child Born At the Hospital?
My first child was born at the tail end of 2019, right before COVID-19 came and rocked the world for a few years.
Although it was fairly quick and a pretty good story, I’ll save you all the labor details and skip right to the part of the story that is of importance.
After giving birth and getting a tiny bit of rest, the staff provided me a number of documents. Pamphlets preparing me for my new parental role, brochures with different support groups and aid providers in the area, and some paperwork that I needed to fill out prior to being discharged.
Among the paperwork left for me to complete was the Birth Certificate and Social Security forms. At some point the hospital registrar comes in to collect and “process” the forms.
When the hospital registrar returned, I was given, what looked like, a copy of the same paperwork that I had filled out. The only difference was it came with typed answers instead of my hand written answers. I didn’t really understand, but it was obvious, it was not the birth certificate I was looking for.
I was informed that I would need send this paperwork off to Vital Records along with a $20 payment and proof of identification in order to receive the official birth certificate.
The form could be submitted by mail, online or in office by appointment. Arizona uses a company called Vitaltek found here to process birth certificate requests online.
I didn’t have to do anything special for the social security card, it arrived by mail to the address I provided, within a few weeks.
My mom was given my birth certificate prior to being discharged from the hospital. Granted she gave birth in Missouri and it was over 20+ years ago, but the process should be fairly similar from state to state, right?
I mean, if the whole labor happens at the hospital, why should you have to go through any further steps outside the hospital to register the birth of the child?
How Do I Get the Birth Certificate for A Child Born Outside of the Hospital?
A lot of parents are opting for the at home birthing experience, me being one of them.
Be careful what you wish for! I told myself my second pregnancy, I would have an at home birth. I felt it would be a more personal, a more relaxing and a more welcoming experience.
I was doing lots of research on the equipment I might need and the type things I should look out for or expect laboring at home. I was interviewing with local doulas and midwives to see how their services differed from the traditional hospital labor.
With finances and time not being on my side paired with my husband’s fear of us giving birth at home, the idea of it actually happening was beginning to sound less and less feasible.
I’d like to point out that there are a lot of midwives and doula services that will work with you. They offer payment plans, they are compatible with most insurance including Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), and some even offer some free programs to help mother’s in need.
Fast forward to my active labor. I did indeed birth my child at home, in the standing position in a doorway in the wee hours of the night.
My husband, as scared as he was, had to catch our baby! Again, another entertaining story, but I’ll save it for another time.
It happens way more commonly than you think, women going into labor in route to the hospital. I watched plenty of those videos and other labor videos throughout my pregnancy. I even playfully thought to myself, “what if that happens to me?”.
The ambulance arrived shortly after I gave birth and they transported the baby and myself to be cared for at the hospital. The rest of the hospital stay was a similar routine to the first.
The big difference was upon arrival I had to sign a legal waiver agreeing to care from the hospital for the baby, since she was born outside of the hospital. Also, this time around with the paperwork, the hospital registrar advised me that I would have to register the child myself with the Vital Records office as the hospital could not since the baby was born outside of the hospital.
After calling the Social Security Office, I learned I would also have to go through a separate process after registering the birth to obtain my baby’s social security card.
If you are blessed to have a midwife in labor, they can handle registering the baby for you, saving you the work.
Depending on how soon you complete the registration process, the steps can vary! I recommend getting it done as soon as possible.
Don’t be like me, procrastinating until it causes an urgent inconvenience.
If you register the birth with a year, you’ll need to submit the following;
- a completed Certificate of Live Birth worksheet (in office)
- if applicable; a certified copy of the maternity order
- if applicable; a signed acknowledgement of Paternity
- one document that establishes the mother’s presence in Arizona at the time of the child’s birth
- one document the supports the fact of the child’s birth
- if registration is being completed a guardian or a person, who has custody, a certified copy of the court order establishing such
If you register the birth after a year, you’ll need to apply for a delayed birth certificate;
- one must first obtain a Certificate of No Record, submitted only by mail
- once Vital Records confirms a birth certificate is not registered, they’ll send the Certificate of No Record and a Delayed Birth Packet
- the applicant will then need to read and complete the Delayed Birth Packet and collect the required documents
- all documents will need to be submitted to the Bureau of Vital Records
You can find more detailed instructions about what documents they’ll accept and timeframes on the Arizona Department of Health Services website here.
In conclusion, processes and procedures of how to do any and everything is always changing. It’s wise to stay open to new knowledge, even when you feel like you already know what it is.
Readers outside of Phoenix, would you say the birth registration process here is different or the same as where you are from?
If there’s a topic you’d like us to dig into and discuss, contact us email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!