New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Friday, August 19, 2011

My rant about safety vs comfort and variations in practice style and other random topics

Most of my posts lately have come from a recent experience with a doula client. It was a little emotionaly straining for me as a doula. To begin with, I had to sign a paper stating that I knew I wasn't a medical professional and shouldn't act like I was. That was a little discerning for me, because I got the feeling that I was then in a turf war, and who wants that.

The client that I was with had had her water broken for eight hours and was GBS positive. Her doctor was insistant on checking her cervix oftn and kept telling her that if she didn't get labor going, her baby may need to go to the NICU. As a doula, I questioned the nurse about the cervical checks and if we could just hold off on them a little bit. She then started to tell me that we needed to make sure she was progressing because they were worried about infection. This would be fine and dandy if what they were saying was 1) actually preventing infection 2) not horribly uncomfortable for my client.

The thing is, checking the cervix often is known to increase infection. If infection is on the top of their list(and I'm not down playing the importance of this over comfort), then vaginal checks should also be on top of their list to avoid. Some of the vaginal checks did not even change how they would have cared for her.

This all came after I was just taking care of another client who was in a similar predicimant. She had been ruptured for about 24 hours, was gbs positive, and not once did I hear any mention of infection or needing to keep strict tabs on her dilation. They would have let her labor even longer had she choosen to(and that's a whole other story). My point is, different practitioners practiced differently.

There were some other things that happened at this birth that strained me along the same lines, but I think I'll be done ranting for now. I think I need to do some posts of helping women to be more comfortable during vaginal checks:)

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.