Are you being 'supported' or 'assisted'?
It may seem like semantics, but consider this:
A doula SUPPORTS birth. A doula does not ASSIST.
To Assist a birth is to take authority in that birth, to insist on certain procedures or checks, to approve or allow certain behaviours, to operate clinically and methodically.
An assisted birth is measured and monitored, by someone trained in medical assessment.
Not everyone wants to be 'assisted'. But we ALL want to be supported. Many women, even when birthing in hospital, will state in their birth plans that they wish to have a 'hands off' labour. That they prefer to use water, movement, heat packs over medical options for contraction management. Some take this into the second stage, asking to be upright or in water, and not to be coached. The third stage also, can be hands off.
It very much depends on where you are choosing to birth and who is assisting you. Sometimes, it is luck of the draw. You happen to get a hands-off midwife on the day and birth within her shift. You can not assume you will have a supported birth in a hospital setting. You need to ask many questions, sometimes multiple times and rephrased.
Often in early pregnancy you will be told "yes, yes, whatever you want"...but by 36+ weeks, the mood changes (even though you are still 'low risk'.). You may find that answers are indirect or dismissive, or non-committal. If a natural birth (ie no intervention, essentially unassisted) is important to you: hospital is unlikely to be a good place to birth. A birth centre, or a homebirth would be better suited.
It is very important to match your birth philosophy to the location and the team working with you.
Selected Articles by Catherine
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birth without fear
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