How to Choose Your Birth Team
Support is a major component of a healthy and happy pregnancy, labor, and birth. Choosing the right birth team for you will lay the foundation for a confident journey. It sounds so easy, choosing a birth team, but the truth is that it may take some shopping around. What is right for one mother, may not be right for another. The important thing to remember is that you are the one who needs to feel at peace with the choice. Before interviewing potential birth team members, you need to ask yourself:
- What type of birth do you envision?
- Where do you plan to give birth? (Hospital, In-hospital Birth Center, Free-Standing Birth Center, Home)
- What are your local options?
- Who do you want in the ‘delivery room’?
Birth Team Members and Optional MembersYou, the laboring mother. Spouse or Partner Family or Friends: As long as they are supportive and serve as a positive energy to the labor, they can be beneficial. Doula: A doula does not replace your partner or support person. She has a completely different role to fill. A doula can aid in every birth situation, no matter the environment or birth style you choose. She gives support emotionally, mentally, and physically. She can calm you through relaxation techniques, movements, and positions. Having a well-educated doula is comparable to having a reference book of labor lying open next to you; she is full of information and will help support informed decisions. She is comforting to both the laboring mother and the partner, ensuring that the partner has an active role in the birth. She can also advocate for the mother throughout labor. However, a doula is not a medical professional. She cannot diagnose or give medical advice. She also cannot legally deliver your baby. That being said, research greatly supports having a doula present at your birth. It has been proven that a doula provides:
- 50% less chance of an unnecessary c-section 25% shorter labor time
- 60% less chance of an unplanned epidural
- 30% less chance in needed an instrumental-assisted delivery
- 40% less chance of needing Pitocin