There is a common stereotype that doulas are only for those planning a “natural” birth. This can have many meanings but oftentimes refers to an unmedicated labor resulting in a vaginal delivery. Many have said they haven’t even considered hiring a doula because they already know they want pain relief via IV meds or the epidural. Well, we want to take a moment to shout it from the rooftop:
NORTHEAST IOWA DOULAS SUPPORTS ALL BIRTH CHOICES!!!
Seriously...We don’t come in with that “natural birth agenda.” We support you in whatever your birth preferences are; period.
Epidural? We love epidurals!
IV pain meds during labor? Fantastic!
Planned cesarean? Super!
Change in plans? We've got your back!
It is so important for a laboring mother and her partner to feel safe, supported and as comfortable as possible when they are working so hard to bring their baby into the world.
Another misconception is that your doula is your advocate…
This should NOT be the case. It is completely out of the scope of a doula to speak on their client’s behalf. We will not take away your voice by speaking for you in any situation but will empower you to speak for yourself. OB’s, midwives, nurses, and family practice docs did not get into this profession so that they could purposely inflict harm or discomfort in their patients. We truly believe that healthcare professionals want you to have a great experience just as much as you want to have a great experience. We look at our professional birth support as complementary to the clinical care you receive from your providers. Northeast Iowa Doulas has fantastic working relationships with the healthcare professionals in the Cedar Valley and Corridor areas. They know that when one of our doulas walks into the room, we are there to be a team player and collaborate with them to provide the best overall care to the mother and her partner.
"Providers are focused on healthy moms and healthy babies. Doulas are focused on a healthy mind and a healthy bond." --Randy Patterson, ProDoula Co-Founder
So, what can you expect when you hire Northeast Iowa Doulas for something other than a planned ‘natural’ unmedicated birth?
Support for an Epidural
Oftentimes it can take up to an hour before the anesthesiologist arrives in all his glory. It can be very difficult to sit still through contractions while the epidural is being placed. Once in place, it can take a good 20 minutes or longer before the epidural is providing much pain relief.
While waiting for anesthesia to arrive we can offer support by:
offering an explanation about what to expect
verbal coaching, praise and encouragement
massage, counter pressure or position changes
relaxation techniques (taught in our childbirth education class)
Once your epidural has been placed and has taken effect we can offer support by:
Position changes, massage, utilizing the peanut ball in bed
Keeping mom engaged in the process if she desires or assisting her in a position that allows her to get some much needed rest
Maintaining a relaxing and comfortable environment
Keeping the focus on mom and her partner; not the monitors
There are times when the epidural does not work or sometimes it only works on one side and this can be very frustrating to a laboring mother who is expecting a pain-free labor and delivery. Attempts can be made by the anesthesiologist to place another epidural but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Then what? Then your doula is there with her skills and knowledge to support you through it.
Support for a planned cesarean
This includes but is not limited to:
- Prenatal discussion about the process:
-Checking into the hospital
-Administration of medications
-Preparation for surgery and being brought back to the OR
-Assistance with creating a family-centered cesarean birth plan
- Support during admission while waiting to go back to the OR:
-Creating a relaxing environment
-Massage and other comfort measures
-Helping the family unpack for the hospital stay
- Providing support to the mother's partner during the time they are separated
- Assistance with breastfeeding after baby has arrived
- Extended postpartum support in the hospital to help the family get settled
The 'wait-and-see' approach
Maybe you aren't sure what kind of birth experience you want...Maybe your only goal is a birth that results in a healthy mom and healthy baby. Great--We support that!
Maybe you like the idea of having a 'natural' unmedicated birth but you are totally open to pain relief options if and when they become needed. Fantastic--We support that, too!
Support when plans change
Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that is okay! Just because one part of your plan changes doesn’t mean the whole plan needs to go out the window. All of our doulas are trained and skilled in helping you transition when your birth experience is unfolding differently than you had hoped.
We’ll say it again... We support ALL birth choices! We support you in whatever your plans for birth are and no matter how your birth unfolds.
Feel secure in the fact that a knowledgeable, reputable expert in birth support is there to unconditionally accompany you throughout every part of this experience.
By hiring Northeast Iowa Doulas you can be sure that you will receive only the best professional support that Iowa has to offer. For more information about our doula services click here or contact us today for more information.
We look forward to hearing from you!
For more great #WorldDoulaWeek blogs from doulas across the country, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week
Co-authored by: Victoria Cartland & Kaity Klotzbach