How Do You Know?

imagesToday I received a call from an intelligent woman who has run a marathon before. She read an article I wrote- visited my website and decided she may like to have a doula. I was super excited to hear from her. But then as we talked I was sad about some of the information her doctor had given her. Since she has somehow bought that she has a low tolerance for pain- which I doubt if she is a long distance runner- and would need an epidural. But she was open to considering she may not. I asked her how she would know what she may need in labor since she had never been in labor before. But her doctor had told her that the hospital childbirth class was really geared to women who wanted a natural birth- which I also doubt since most hospital educators are required to teach a certain curriculum that the anesthesia and obs approve. But since she was considering using an epidural, her doctor told her that the class would be useless to attend.

So, now instead of having a full range of options available to make an informed decision- she has been limited to the books she has read.

I was delighted she had found a good one- Pregnancy, Birth and the Newborn by Simkin. But it made me sad when she commented that she wanted to choose what was best for her and her baby… and somehow had come to believe that may be an epidural. I discussed that she needed to understand the risks of all of the decisions she would make in labor.

She is considering a private class with me. I do not have a problem with the choice of an epidural, but when it is the only option you have- you have little options. I believe in full informed consent. Women trust their doctors to guide them- in the best interest of the baby and them… when did “learn all you can about all of your options” not become the best way to guide someone in an area that is unknown like birth? When did it not become about helping a woman empower herself?

I hope she attends my private class- I will at least know then that she is making informed decisions that are the right ones for her- instead of the ones the doctor chooses for her.