I get asked this question sometimes. It is usually more like, ” Have you worked with my doctor? Did you get along? Do you work well in this hospital? Do you get along with the nurses?”
My job is not to get along with your care providers. My job is to serve you. That means helping you achieve the birth you desire. Not the birth they have planned for you neccessarily. Not the birth your friends or family feel you should have. Not the birth I even think you should have. It is all about you! But that does not mean we don’t get along with the staff. We do. But we are well loved by those who practice evidenced based medicine, have low induction rates, have low cesarean rates and support many options for your labor and birth like water birth and family centered cesareans.
I will say we would like you to be an informed consumer. We will ask you questions about your desires and help you understand the ramifications of certain desires. We will encourage you to take classes so you understand your options fully. We will encourage you to practice some pain coping skills beforehand. And we will offer you some ideas you may not have considered.
Lately there have been a lot of articles about supporting you in your decision to have a medicated birth by other birth professionals. And although I understand that sometimes labors do not go as you had planned and you may choose medication, without any judgement on my part, I do think it is important to consider unmedicated births. There are several ways we can support you even if you choose medication. Here is an article about just that. And here is another. I do think these types of article have merit. But I also think they may be a means for doulas to get business in areas where epidural are common place. So, why do we encourage you to consider an unmedicated birth?
What is ideally best for your baby is to have no synthetic drugs passing through their system. You know how your doctor or midwife prefers you do not use medications unneccesarily when you are pregnant, the same goes for labor and birth. Ideally it is best. So if you can birth without any drugs in your baby’s system, that is best. It makes for a healthier baby and getting breastfeeding off to a good start. We don’t always get to have the best, so we do the best we can in the situation. And we accept that we did just that- our best.
What is ideally best for most moms is to have no synthetic drugs passing into their system. Organic and natural foods are considered the best for that very reason. So although drugs are sometimes needed, they are not without negative consequences sometimes either. But again, we do the best we can in that situation.
Recently I spoke to another birth professional who told me that the majority of her clients plan to have a medicated birth. Medicated births have become the norm in our area. In fact they are such the norm that many moms do not prepare with classes and assume all will go fine if they go that route. But in the busiest hospital in the US, the cesarean rates have climbed over 41%. Why is that? I believe it is because birth is seen as a medical emergency about to happen so medications and inductions have become the norm. Women are not even exploring other options.
Our practice is not the normal practice. I would guess that over 90% of our clients plan and hope to have an unmedicated birth. We plan to support them in doing so. We know this may mean being with them for longer doula support hours. It means that we do not sit and wait quietly while the mother sleeps after receiving her epidural for most of our clients. Usually if an epidural is received it is after she has tried with all her might to avoid it. And then there was a time and a place for it.
Does this mean we are anti-epidural? No, we just feel what is best is to try without one if possible. For some women it is just not possible. They can not comprehend not getting it. For those women we will encourage them to be in active labor before doing so as to not increase the risks to them and to their baby. It is also what causes us to not charge more after 12 hours like some doulas. We understand our role may be increased if you are seeking an unmedicated birth.
I would guess again that over 80% of our clients end up with an unmedicated birth. And our cesarean rate is in the teens- not the forties. So our practice model is not for everyone. Although again, we support all types of birth and can be any woman’s doula who desires us. We may lean toward women looking for natural births, and encourage education and information and options, but we are also a group of doulas who fully support your choices- including medications, without judgement. You are inside your body in labor- not us. You have ideas in your mind, they are not ours. So, know that if you are looking for a doula group who offers and supports all options, but perhaps specializes working with women who have natural, unmedicated births, we are your doula group to consider.