By now, many people know and understand the way birth doulas support mothers in labor and how this support creates healthier births. While the research backs it up, it’s kind of just plain old common sense. Women need support on the biggest day of their life, performing the greatest physical and emotional feat they will ever accomplish – of course!
But what about doctors and midwives? For their patients that employ the service of birth doulas, what benefit is a doula to the care provider? It’s a sad reality that many people – physicians included – think of doulas and care providers as being opposing forces, always trying to “win” on the side of what they feel is best for the patient/client. A professional birth doula will do no such thing.
In fact, a well trained, professional, career doula will make every effort to be of service and support to the client while being a valuable member of the birth team. Professional doulas recognize and respect that they are working within a limited, yet extremely valuable scope of practice. Fully embracing that role, they can be of benefit to care providers in many ways.
A primary priority for birth doulas is making sure that their clients have all the information to make a fully informed decision. The care provider can rest assured that their patient is discussing at length the risks, benefits, and alternatives to their options. Patients are not alone in their rooms consorting with Google, but with someone who is knowledgeable. Furthermore, the birth doula is not emotionally or financially attached to the birth so the information they give is unbiased toward any particular path. Providers are busy in hospitals caring for several patients at a time and they don’t always have the time to have great, lengthy discussions with their patients. A doula’s job is to stay with the client through the whole birth. She is committed to being there anyway and she can take all the time needed for an informed decision to be made that satisfies the family.
Once a birth doula has spent time discussing options, she can help facilitate open communication between the provider and the laboring mother. Since she has a client relationship with the mother, the doula can make sure that the mother is fully understanding what the doctor is saying. Doulas do not speak on behalf of their clients. Rather, the doula’s priority is to facilitate an open conversation where fully informed consent can be made and this limits a provider’s liability if complications arise.
Research shows that women who hire birth doulas are much more likely to rate their birth with a high level of satisfaction, regardless of how the birth played out (http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/). Patients are more satisfied with their natural birth, their induction, and their cesarean. Satisfaction with the overall birth experience naturally translates into higher satisfaction with the provider. This increases the likelihood that this patient will return to this provider and that they will recommend them to others.
Doctors and midwives can also rest assured that the patient is being monitored with trained eyes. For instance, if a woman spontaneously begins pushing, a doula can recognize that and notify the staff. A professional doula knows that her scope of practice does not include any clinical skills, including catching the baby. She can sometimes be the first line of defense in ensuring that everything happens as it should ensure a healthy birth.
Evidence also shows that births with doulas have lower intervention rates. This benefits the physician because it means lower complications associated with interventions. Patient satisfaction further increases and makes the birth with a doula more likely (but of course not guaranteed) to be straightforward and uncomplicated. These tend to be simpler births for physicians.
Doulas work primarily for women in labor. However, their unique expertise in the labor room is beneficial to all of the birth team, including the primary care provider. A doula is an advocate, a source of information, and a benefit to all involved in the birth.
Pregnant women are not kept in secret caves until they give birth. They are still functioning humans who like to socialize and even be invited to parties from time to time. Whether it is a quiet party with a few guests or a loud blowout with hundreds of people, there are some party hazards you need to avoid while you are pregnant.
Drinking, Smoking, and Other Things
The jury is still out on whether or not a glass of wine here and there is good or bad. Stick to the advice you are getting from your own doctor regarding drinking. If you smoke, try to quit or at least cut down as much as possible. If you can, avoid second-hand smoke as well. It should be obvious that all drugs are a bad idea at any stage of your pregnancy, but they are especially a terrible idea in the earliest stages.
Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools
Swimming is great exercise for a pregnant woman. Not only does it take the weight off of the joints, but it can help to relax you, gives you a good but safe cardiovascular workout, and just feels good. Hot tubs, on the other hand, may be a bad idea. Doctors generally don’t advise using them, especially during the first trimester. The heat of the tub can be harmful to a developing fetus. There is also the risk that the hot tub is not being sanitized enough, which can increase the risk of infections. Infections can be dangerous to your baby and will make you feel miserable as well. However, short immersions in clean hot tubs not over 101 degrees may be considered okay. When in doubt, ask your provider.
Wild or Risky Activities
It is perfectly fine to play games unless you are restricted from physical exertion by your doctor. However, games like slip and slide or anything that requires a lot of hopping or jumping or that could cause you pain or increase your risk of injury should be avoided. The hormone Relaxin makes everything nice and pliable, but this sometimes can make it a little easier to injure yourself. During your third trimester, you may also want to avoid anything that involves balance because your body will be off-center at this point.
You can go to as many parties as you like. Socialization is important for pregnant women and keeps you from spending your time worrying about everything that could go wrong. Trust yourself in making decisions that keep you and baby out of harm's way. Unwind, relax, and enjoy music and laughter with friends. Play some games or do other activities, and have a good time.
Pregnancy is an exciting chapter of life. It can also be a time of doubt, fear, and anxiety. Our mission is to empower mothers to feel confident, capable, and strong throughout their pregnancy and birth by providing quality care that is individually tailored to their needs. Schedule a private class today!