|Posted on November 2, 2017 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 2, 2017 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 13, 2014 at 8:10 PM||comments (0)|
Yes and no.
Yes, there are dads and birth partners who make phenomenal doulas. They are amazing support, and know exactly what to do and say in labor. My husband is one of these men. He is an outstanding doula, and as such, he almost ended up accidentally catching our last baby at home. He was so calm about the whole labor, that I really thought I was overreacting, and I was convinced that I wasn’t having a fast labor. Good thing he was listening when I talked endlessly about the signs of labor progression and transition. I seriously think he missed his calling, but he has no interest in helping babies enter the world. In fact, he would rather us have a doula present so that the pressure isn’t on him. He wants to witness the birth, and help me through it, while also have an experienced professional there to help out when needed, and to give him the much needed support when things get a little crazy (transition, anyone?).
Birth partners who are instinctually good doulas tend to be few and far between. For the rest of the birth partners out there, these expectations can be a bit unrealistic and very stressful. Of course they want to be everything you need, but they may not know how to accomplish this. They can attend every childbirth prep class there is (and I highly suggest you do this), but labor is unpredictable and at some point, the head knowledge goes, and you just follow your instincts. This is true for the mother, and for the doula. The difference is that the mother is the one experiencing labor and going “primal”, while the doula is specifically trained to see the signs of labor progressing, and understands implicitly what the mother needs. She has seen it countless times, and oftentimes, she has been through it herself.
With a birth partner and a doula, you both get the best of both worlds. You know your partner best, and you probably have a pretty accurate idea of how they will cope with you being in labor. If you know that you want them to be affectionate and that is not naturally their personality, it isn’t fair to either of you to expect them to turn it on during labor. If you suspect that you will need something different that what your partner will be comfortable providing, hire the help. You will both be glad you did.
How much does the doula help if you have a supportive partner present?
Evidence for having a doula in addition to a birth partner and nursing staff-
-31% decrease in the use of pitocin
-28% decrease in the incidence of cesarean birth
-9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
-14% decrease in the incidence of newborns being admitted into a special care nursery
-34% decrease with the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.
It has been proven that a doula can be very helpful in labor, but what about the partner who worries that they will be replaced or pushed aside during the birth of the child. As stated in The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, “A good doula enhances rather than detracts from the fathers participation” (Goer pg. 181). As the birth partner, you know the mother best, and you love her and the baby. That makes you irreplaceable. There are still many times when the mother needs more than one labor helper, and that is when the doula can be most helpful to you.
A doula helps the birth partner by:
-Helping to guide what you learned during childbirth preparation classes.
-Give you much needed breaks for food, a short nap, or just to walk around and get a breather. While you may want to stay with mom the entire time, some labors can be long and exhausting. As the birth partner, you will be at your best if you are able to take short breaks as needed, ad keep yourself energized and alert for when things get real/it all hits the fan.
-In addition, the birth doula can bring you beverages, or warm/cold packs for mom, without you having to leave moms side.
-Reassure you of the mother’s well being, especially when things get intense toward the end.
-Interpret the medical terminology so that you can make informed decisions. The birth doula can remind you of your birth preferences if things seem to be going off track, and can ask for alone time so you can discuss the options privately with mom.
-The doula can help you understand what mom is feeling, and interpret the signs of labor progression and normalize the process.
-She can help you participate more fully in labor, while simultaneously taking some of the “coach” pressure off of you.
-If desired, the doula can take photographs or video, so that you are included in these special photos.
(Simkin,P. The Birth Partner pg. 9)
Choosing the right doula for you-
When choosing a doula, make sure that both partners are comfortable with the doula. Both partners should be given the opportunity to meet with the doula, and to ask as many questions as they need. Finding the right doula is about finding the right personality to work well with the couple, so interview a few before making a decision. When you find a doula that works well with you as a couple, they will only add to your birth experience, and you will both walk away feeling like having a doula made the transition to parenthood so much easier on you both.
|Posted on February 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM||comments (0)|
The more you know going into birth, the more in control you tend to feel during labor and delivery. There are so many birth books out there, and it can get a bit overwhelming. If you know me personally, chances are that I have dropped several of these off for your reading pleasure. Listed below are my top book picks, links to purchase (on amazon), plus a short review of some of my favorites. I will add to this list, and expand on my thoughts as time allows.
Author: Janet Balaskas
This book is great at detailing labor and birth positions, and the positive impact of staying active while in labor. It also includes exercises for recovery and relaxation after the birth.
Author - Peggy Vincent
This is a midwifes story, and is so very insightful into the life of a birth worker. The birth stories are fantastic, and if you have an interest in this line of work, this book is an excellent read.
Authors: Williams Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N.
This is a very good book for breaking down the basics of preparation for labor, and how to manage childbirth. The Sears have a great series of books on everything from birth to attachment parenting.
Author: Pam England & Rob Horowitz
This has a very unique theory. While practical knowledge is so very important, the most important thing is for a mother to listen to her gut instincts in labor. The more she is in her head; the less she can let go and just labor. This book really digs into how other parts of the world view birth, and how we as a culture need to let the laboring mother just do her thing. For the most part, the less we intervene, the easier the birth will go.
Author: Penny Simkin
This is a fantastic book for the support person to read. It is written so well, and has everything from the stages of labor, to what the support person can do at each stage.
Author: Grantly Dick-Read
This is a fantastic book that dives into the tension, fear, and pain cycle. The part that sticks with me the most is the example of arm wrestling. If you relax your arm, I can pull it over a million times, and you won't feel much pain at all. We could do this all day long. If you tighten up your muscles, and you try to fight me, you will eventually have a very tired and painful bicep muscle. The uterus works in much the same way. The contractions are the uterus trying to open up your cervix, and if you tense up against the contractions, it will make labor much more painful. The more you can relax, the more productive your contractions will be.
Authors: Marshall Klaus, John Kennel, MD, & Phyllis Klaus. MFT, LMSW
Author- Cassaundra Jah. CPM, IBCLC
Author: Barbara Harper, R.N.
Gentle Birth Choices is a fantastic book for birth planning. It digs into the common interventions, and also has great information on water birth and home birth. It really explains the midwifery model of care, and is surely a great read for anyone who is considering using a midwife instead of an OB or family practice doctor.
Author: Stacey Marrie Kerr, M.D.
For anyone who dreams of a homebirth, but needs to birth in a hospital setting, this book is for you. This book will help you achieve a home like experience, while being in a hospital setting. It's a great happy medium for someone who wants to limit the medical side of birth, but wants that sense of security that comes with being in a hospital.
Author: Robert Bradley, M.D.
Author- Ina May Gaskin
I absolutely adore this book. It is a combination of positive birth stories, and insight from the most well known midwife, Ina May Gaskin. It covers everything from labor positions to the use of pain medications. What I find most helpful are the birth stories. Toward the end of pregnancy, it can be so helpful to the mother to stay focused on having a positive birth experience. Reading positive birth stories can really help alleviate the nervous energy and any lingering anxiety.
Author: Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle, Durham, & April Bolding.
Author - Ina May Gaskin
Ina May Gaskin is just amazing. If you are interested in the history of The Farm, and how Ina May Gaskin became the most well known midwife, this book has it all.
Author: Henci Goer
What can I say about this book? It's fantastic. By far, this is my number one recommended book for anyone who likes to know the pros and cons behind routine birth interventions. If you are delivering in a hospital, this book is a must read. If you are delivering out of a hospital, I still really advise reading this. It will clarify what interventions you are ok with, should a transfer need to happen.
Author- Laura Kaplan Shanley
This is a very thought provoking book. It is based of the idea that we can create our own birth reality, and that we don't need a doctor or midwife to come in and save us. It pushes the limits of comfort for some, but it is very thought provoking and an interesting perspective. I think this book would be good for a mother who plans to have a home birth, a freestanding birth center birth, or who plans to have an unassisted birth.
Author: Robert Sears, M.D.
This is a fabulous book. It goes into the benefits of risks of each vaccine, and what age is safest. It also details some alternative vaccine schedules, and is very usefull for parents who want to alter the routine vaccine schedule.
The Business of Being Born - Documentary
Although this is a book recommendation list, I must include the documentary, The Business of Being Born. It is a wealth of knowledge, and really digs into the routine interventions and why you may want to decline them. It is ninely minutes well spent, and is very helpful when creating a birth plan. I highly recommend watching this documentary with your labor support person. If they understand why you are declining a routine intervention, they will be more comfortable supporting those decisions.
If you have any further reading recommendations, please feel free to shoot them my way in the comments. I love expanding my reading material, and am always looking for good birth books. Thank you.