One misconception that doulas often hear is "Oh, so you only attend home birth or births with midwives, right."
The answer? No! Doulas have the unique opportunity to attend birth with family practice doctors, OB/GYN, midwives and even home birth midwives. We have the opportunity to support women and families through every aspect of the birth process, in every setting.
The problem lies in the past. Unfortunately there's been a few doulas who have left a bad taste in the mouth of the Doctors and sometimes even midwives that have worked with them.
As professional doulas we strive to have positive interactions with all care providers. Heres four reasons why we work well with you OB/GYN or Midwife.
1. Doulas and doctors have completely different roles: Did you know that doulas are not trained in anything medical? We have a vast knowledge of a lot of things but in no way have a specialty understanding in obstetrics. This is why we often say, "If you're unsure, call your doctor!" Doctors are there to help you understand very specific parts of your pregnancy that are medical. It never hurts to ask your doula but we have no problem advising a call to your doctor if we don't feel that it is in our scope of practice.
2. During labor, doctors often monitor and catch: Doctors are not in place to help you with emotional support. Thats simply not their main focus. They are often focused on the well being of your child, on you and probably a handful of other patients on the floor. Although there are so many wonderful, loving and caring doctors, it can be difficult for them to give as much attention to you during your labor as a doula can. It's a doulas main job to never leave your side and help you through each individual contraction, the discomfort that most mothers experience and integrating your partner into the experience as much as they would like and feel comfortable doing.
3. We don't diagnose, we support through the diagnoses: I want to give you an example. A mother is in labor for 48 hours. She has started pushing phase and has been pushing for 3 of those hours. The doctor comes in and gives mom the option of an elective/emergency cesarean. This is the doctors call to give this option. The doulas responsibility now is to meet the family where they are. If they need to talk through the option, the doula can listen, support, validate and add any insight the family asks for. This is a very personal decision and in order for a family to feel empowered, they have to choose what is best for their family. A doctor can diagnose and suggest medical options and a doula can support and help each family feel empowered in whatever decision they make.
4. Doctors are trained in the intricacies of birth; Doulas are trained in the intricacies of a mother's feelings: Doctors have trained and schooled for years to become specialists in their field. They have the opportunity to look at data and diagnose a problem that could save lives. Doulas have been trained to look into the face of a laboring or postpartum mother and know what they are feeling and what they may need emotionally to feel empowered and cared for. These two things are not mutually exclusive. Doulas and doctors or midwives need each other and can help one another to help our clients to have the best experience that they can in a birthing world that is so unpredictable.
We love working with OB's and midwives through every stage of pregnancy and postpartum. These unique relationships help ensure that our clients have the best experience they can imagine.