A woman recently inquired about doula services for her upcoming birth. She had some concerns about her doctor and wanted some extra support to try to achieve the birth experience she wanted. She explained that as the pregnancy went on, her OB had made several comments that concerned her (including, “you have such a small frame that it is unlikely you will be able to deliver vaginally”, oh boy . . .). She was concerned he would pressure her into unneccessary interventions and wanted some extra support to help “stand up to him”. While I do think having a doula is a great idea for many women, I suggested that my first advice would be for her to consider a change of provider (since she feels uncomfortable with him). Of course it is not convenient to change providers mid-late pregnancy, but there are situations in which it is very worth the effort. While it is ‘possible’ to have a birth experience different than what your provider prefers, it rarely makes for a pleasant experience. For anyone. If a mom approaches birth with a feeling of distrust and need to ‘fight’ her doctor or midwife, a true emergency could become a dangerous situation. Additionally, this stress would make it difficult for the mother to relax and could actually impede her labor progress.
The decision of your caregiver is one of the most important decisions you will make with regard to your birth.
With such a critical decision, it is best not to take anything for granted. A ‘midwife’ or a ‘doctor’ may indicate specific skills and training, but those titles do not necessarily tell you what type of care they will actually provide. Here is an excellent article by doctor Henry Dorn demonstrating that there really is a very wide range of philosophies and practice guidelines. This is very worth reading!
As you seek out a provider for your best birth, it is important that you ask a lot of questions (of them and about them) and get to know their philosophy to determine if they are the best choice to support YOU (not some friend who loved them for some reason). It does take some extra effort, but if you can establish a relationship of trust and communication, you are setting yourself up for the best possible outcome.
Photo by Suat Eman