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The process for making a truly informed decision takes new information and marries it to old information and must consider personal circumstances. It is for this reason that different people facing similar decisions will make different choices.
It is essential that options are known and people are given the time and the freedom to choose. Being asked to make an on-the-spot decision under stressful conditions with limited information is not an informed decision.
The doula facilitates the Informed Decision by providing informational support by guiding people through their current understanding and experiences, helping them gather the new evidence-based information and interpreting it into context with personal circumstances,
A doula should approach preparation support (as with other aspects of doula work) with empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence. Her role as a paraprofessional is not to provide advice, but to support understanding and provide a space for decision making and support birth planning.
The birth plan document is the result of much research and preparation, many questions between care provider and client, and contains a summary of informed decisions for all possibilities. It is the “if this, then that” working document prepared in conjunction with care providers.
When it comes to informed birth preparation, a doula bridges the gap in care provision as a continuous and impartial third party by facilitating a thorough and workable birth plan.