Doulas Do It Anywhere - pt 3

Doulas help women give birth anywhere. We offer support in a home birth setting, hospital birth setting, birth center birth setting, medicated birth setting, and even cesareans.

Again, the definition of a doula:
A doula is not a midwife (unless, of course, she’s certified as both), in that she has no authority to make medical decisions, nor is she credentialed to deliver a baby. She’s not considered on the level of a nurse, either; doulas cannot administer or regulate medicine, operate monitoring devices, et cetera. In fact, a reputable doula will tell you that she doesn’t even have the authority to speak on behalf of the mother should a complication or other medical surprise surface.

But sometimes it’s the unnameable, intangible aspects of the conclusion of a pregnancy that require the most help and planning. And that’s where a doula is indispensable. In addition to the priceless knowledge and experience she brings to the laboring phase and to newborn-care assistance, she’s a wellspring of intimate emotional and physical support. A doula educates the family ahead of time; keeps the laboring mama focused and lucid; instinctively retrieves things she needs, like water or compresses; supports her body while walking through contractions; suggests different laboring positions; initiates massage and breathing patterns; reassures other labor partners; works alongside hospital staff; advocates for the mother; and, afterward, ensures that the new mommy is getting enough rest, is recovering well, and is bonding with the baby.  - Divine Caroline

That said, a doula is definitely a soothing presence in all birth settings, including MEDICATED HOSPITAL BIRTH.

During those home visits, your doula can help prepare you for early labor, before pain medication is available or a good idea, through teaching you coping techniques and making suggestions for home labor. Your doula can also help you understand the different medications available and the interventions associated with them so that you can make the best choices for your circumstances and desires. Some of the things that a doula does during a  medicated hospital birth include all of the same stuff we do during an unmedicated hospital birth, plus:
  • We 'better and best': we will make recommendations along the way in order to minimize risk. There are 'better times' to get an epidural vs. IV pain medication. Likewise, there are 'best' times to get the epidural that you are anticipating receiving.  
  • We body work: after the medication is administered, we will still help your body into different positions to encourage baby to rotate through the birth canal. 
  • We keep it mother-centered: we help to encourage the hormones of labor to continue, regardless of medication, by setting ambiance and preserving the 'sacred space' of birth. We also gauge the emotions of mom: disappointment, anger, happiness? If she needs to work through emotions, we have an impromptu emotional mapping session. 
  • We move it along: we will watch your contractions. If they start to space out, which often happens with epidurals and spinals, we will encourage labor to pick back up through acupressure points, aromatherapy, and massage.
  • We stay on task: if a medical emergency does arrive, which more frequently does with medicated births, we can  help to prepare you prenatally and during the actual birth event, to be as involved as possible and to ensure this is still your babies birth story/time.
  • Breast is still best: we still stay after the birth to help with breastfeeding, which may need more help than otherwise would have.
Anything the doula might do on this list is definitely interchangeable with your other support person (spouse/partner, etc..), so that we can  make a seamless team of support for you where none of your needs, or the needs of your other support person, go unmet.

Doulas do it at medicated hospital births!

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