"Can a Doula Keep Me From Having a C-section?"


As 2016 comes to a close I find time for reflection....Actually I have to make time because, who am I kidding?  It has been storming babies in Olympia.  Regardless, I have been thinking about births and meetings with clients which leads me back to, a question I occasionally get asked in interviews.

"Can a doula keep me from having a Cesarean Section?

...or an induction?

...or an epidural?

...or an episiotomy?"

When I first became a doula a huge part of me was so excited because I was going to be a champion for women, and we were going to put an end to interventions.  I held strong to the statistics that doulas are there to improve birth (and I still do).  None of my clients would have c-sections or use pain medication, because they would feel so safe and supported that they wouldn't need those things.  I got ready for the battle between care providers wanting to push interventions, and I was ready for action.  After a few births reality set in and I got off my high horse.

Hospitals were not out to get my clients

In fact the opposite was true, everyone from the nurses to the OB/GYN wanted what was best for my clients and their babies.  Even hospitals that were not "doula friendly" at the time seemed to be the opposite to all the rumors I had heard.  The staff was always really polite to me and treated me like we were all on the same team.  Because we were on the same team!  We wanted what was best for our clients.

Sometimes interventions are necessary or wanted

Interventions were created because there was a problem and it needed to be fixed.  I am so thankful for modern medicine.  It has saved so many lives.  It is not my place to judge, interfere or give my opinion on whether or not something is necessary.  If I am asked I will give my response based on conversations I have had with my clients prenatally.  Usually, it is "we have decided to do this *insert option here*."  Then I know to change what kind of support I am going to give to that family. 

Some people want pain medication

And that is fine!  I have seen pain medication take a laboring mom from suffering, to opening up and having her baby.  I have seen pain medication take a laboring mom from completely stressed out and crying, to being rational and calm.  There are a million reasons a person chooses pain meds even though they were determined not to have them prior to their labor.  And if a mom uses her safe word (something we discuss prenatally), I am the first one to hit the call button so a nurse can come in and discuss her options.

A C-section is not the worst thing that can happen

There are many situations where a Cesarean birth is the optimal choice.  Those can range from the mom simply wants one, to it is what is needed to save a babies life.  I have seen and supported families through both.

"So...can a doula keep me from having a Cesarean Section?

...or an induction?

...or an epidural?

...or an episiotomy?"

The short answer is no.  These things, may happen doula or not.  But we will support you through all of them.