New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Doctors and Nurses please step up to the plate and educate your patients

As a doula, my role is mainly one of providing support and comfort.  I've struggled with myself as I work to define the role that I want.  I really don't want to have to present medical information  because I feel like that is really the doctors responsibility, and yet I find myself needing to because no one else is.  Often doula's get flack for giving the women medical advice during labor, and really that is not their role, but what else are we supposed to do when the doctor or nurse does not do that for them.  I find this problem a lot with epidurals.  Usually they are good a describing the major complications that are rare, but they don't hardly ever talk about the drop in blood pressure that may happen or medications that may be needed to reverse that.  They don't talk about the consequences of not being able to move or pee(like, did you know that urinary catheters can introduce infection also).  This is just a small sample, but when these things are not mentioned, I feel the need to let the woman know so that she can be prepared.  And really, this discussion should not be one that happens in labor, it should be done in the office with the person that she is paying to take care of her health and is hopefully one that she trusts.

I see the same thing happening with episiotomies, pitocin, amniotomies, iv fluids, medications, the list could go on and on.  So these are all things I try to discuss, but really, I would like the doctors to.  I find it funny that a woman would rather call me up to ask a medical question instead of her doctor.  It's something we really need to change, because honestly, I just want to help a woman feel better during labor.

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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.