Random thoughts about Birth, Babies, and Breastfeeding from a Doula's perspective.

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Informed Choice

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

In labour we are often told “do not think about labour, just do what your body tells you to do”. This can be hard to do when you have decisions to be made in the middle of a concentrating on your labour. What might seem like a small ‘yes’ can quickly cascade into something else. It is very important to educate yourself, your partner and the rest of your birth support team, before labour on all of the potential outcomes of you decisions. This is where a Doula can come in handy. They can offer impartial information at a critical time in your labour to help you in your decision making.



When I was training to become a Doula we were taught the BRAIN thought process for decision making, and I will share it with you. It is a great tool to fully explore any option, dealing with childbirth or anything else you may encounter in your life.

Benefits  What are the benefits of us doing this? Will this solve a problem, or cascade to


Risks  Are there any risks associated with this? Do the benefits really outweigh the risks? What would the next step be if we follow this route?

Alternatives  Are there any? What are they? What are their benefits and risks?

Intuition  I am a huge believer that parents know best. They are also the ones that have to deal with any of the following emotions with making any decision.

Nothing  What will happen if I/we do nothing? What will happen? This can be the most important part and is often overlooked. You always have the option of doing nothing.


How many women that have given birth can actually say that all of these categories were covered when and intervention, test or procedure was done to them? Or was a lot of what happened done out of ‘routine’. Something as simple and routine as getting an IV. It is just part of the hospital routine. Not many Moms-to-be know that they have the option to not have one, or that they have an alternative known as a Hep-lock. Sure, it might be needed, and it seems like a good idea. No one told me of the risks, or that I have an option. So sure, let’s get one, just in case. But few realize that now they have this uncooperative pole to drag around and a hand that can’t be moved freely. But I wanted to get in the tub!! Can’t, I have to keep the IV dry, and I might get it infected. “Well, no one told me that!” Were you really given ‘informed consent’?


This is how any information should be presented to a mother in pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period. Why should we expect the Mom in LDR #1 to progress at the same rate as Mom in LDR #3? They won’t. And until Moms are given real information and allowed to make the choices best for them, not the doctor, midwife or nurse. Not the latest study, recommendation, or style. We will not be given true informed consent. In the next several articles, I will provide an in depth, unbiased information on common interventions encountered during pregnancy and birth. Please keep in mind that this information is not to replace medical advice, but as a platform for you to become informed, and to open discussion between yourself and your care providers.

How to Find Your Perfect Doula!

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 9:23 PM Comments comments (0)

A Doula, aside from your partner, might be the only person chosen by you to at your birth; your ‘Perfect’ Midwife or Doctor might not be on-call at the time of your labour, you may (or may not) like the Nurse that is assigned to you, and there may be times when you may (or may not) want your partner present (I know there were times when I certainly did not want my husband there!) It is therefore essential that you find the perfect fit for you.


Before hiring any Doula, you should interview at least a few (I recommend that you interview at least three). Remember, this is your big day; you need to find the right person for you. The following is meant as a guide (and checklist) to use during the interview process to help you select the right Doula for you:

• What is her Doula training? Is she certified, and by whom? Does she have any additional training (CPR, massage, aromatherapy, TENS, breastfeeding support, etc.). But remember, training isn’t everything. Most of what a Doula does is hands-on so you should make sure that she can apply anything that she has learned.

• What is her experience level? How many births has she attended as a Doula? But numbers are not everything though. What good is a Doula that has been to 10 highly medical births especially if you are planning something different?


• What is her birth philosophy? How about Breastfeeding? Does she have children of her own? If yes, how did she birth her children and did she breastfeed? Why or why not?


• Can she provide professional references? More importantly, can she provide references from women whom had similar births to what you are planning?


• What is the scope of the Doula services she is offering? How many prenatal and postpartum visits; and how long are they? Can she help with breastfeeding or postpartum adjustment questions? Can she help connect you with resources in the community?


• What is the Doula’s fee? Will she accept a payment plan or is she willing to barter for her services? Is she willing to offer her services on a sliding-scale with proof of income, if the situation calls for it (remember, my core belief is that every woman whom wants a Doula should have one at her birth)?


• What is her availability and how busy is she? Will she be able to provide dedicated care or is she overbooked. Does she have a back-up Doula for emergency situations or to cover her if she is out of town? Can you meet the back-up?


• Has the Doula worked with your chosen care providers? If yes, ask them about her and what it is like working with her at a birth.


• How does she see her role during the birth? What do you need from her and/or want her to do during birth? What are ways she plans to include your partner in birth?

I always suggest to all of my interviewers that you interview at least 3 Doulas to ensure that you find a great fit. If you only know one Doula, ask her for two more contacts. You need to have a Doula that is well connected within her community, as this is the nature of the business. Would you hire a wedding planner that knows of only one florist? Not likely. Doulas, like wedding planners, are networkers and have lots of contacts, especially other Doulas.


Now is the time to honest with yourself. Determine exactly what it is you are looking for and then try to find a Doula that has experience in the style of birth that you want to have. VBAC, homebirth, homebirth in the hospital, and waterbirth are all niches that Doulas are passionate about. However, every birth is unique and just because a particular Doula is unfamiliar with your planned birth scenario; do not discount her as a viable option. If you like her and you feel that special connection with her and she is excited about working with you on your journey, she maybe a great fit. It is all about finding the best Doula for you.

Welcome To My Blog!

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 10:13 PM Comments comments (0)

I am so new to this whole 'website' and 'Blog' thing. It has been, and continues to be, a huge period of growth.

My intent is to create dialogue about how Canadian's (especially Londoners) birth; by informing women and partners through the B.R.A.I.N process of their birth Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition and Do Nothing about everything Birth, Babies, and Breastfeeding. I encourage comments, positive or negative, from everyone.