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Posts Tagged ‘Unassisted birth’

Doulas and Unassisted Births

July 1, 2010 28 comments

Having an unassisted birth can be a hard journey to take for many women. Often, if you discuss your plans with family and friends, you are bombarded by arguments trying to sway you into having an attended birth, talks of “what if”, or they may choose to avoid any contact with you for the duration of your pregnancy. There are very intense feelings regarding unassisted birth, and many do not want to listen to why you are going unassisted, and definitely do not want to support it in any way. “What if the baby dies?!”

Women who choose to have a UC sometimes want to have an extra support person there, just as they would want one there for an attended birth, but they are afraid to ask around. Most doulas do not feel comfortable serving women who are going unassisted. Some doulas do not believe that women should be able to have unassisted births at all. That, to me, is a sad thing to see in a community of birth workers who support women, yet deny and criticize those who choose a different way. We should giving unassisted birthers respect, just as we give respect to all other women who are giving birth. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to say that you support women, yet only if they do it “the right way”? If you feel uncomfortable with someone else’s birth choices, you can still give them the respect that they deserve as a person.

How can a doula serve a women at an unassisted birth?

A doula can provide all the services she normally provides at any other birth. She can be there to offer support for you, a possibly nervous partner, and siblings. She can prepare food, help set up your birth space, and just be there, present and calm. She will understand when you want to be alone, especially during the birth. Having a doula at your UC means having someone there who truly believes in you and your decision, and is there to help you have the birth you want. Having that trust and relationship with another person can be a great thing at a UC, when often you are left alone to fend for yourself.

After birth, she can help clean up, make sure every one has what they need and help with settling in. She can be a person to look to for resources, advice and postpartum support. Having a doula on your side can ease the worries about not having anyone to turn to postpartum, because you are afraid of what they will think of your decisions. Women should not have to be afraid after their births, because they have no outside support.

Is it still unassisted?

Sure, you can talk semantics about what unassisted birth really is (some will even say that having your partner there means you did not really have a UC), but in the end, almost any UCer I have met online or in person is not really worried about having a UC just to say she had one. Personally, as a doula and someone that has had an unassisted birth, I believe that if a doula is there to serve you and your family at your UC, then yes, you can still say you had an unassisted birth. A doula is not providing any medical care. She is there as a support person, just as she would be at any other birth. A doula does not hold any responsibility for the outcome of your birth, you and your family do.

Options and Local Support for UCers!

March 23, 2010 3 comments

I have written briefly about unassisted childbirth before here. I have always meant to write more in depth, but hey, life gets in the way, doesn’t it?

Midwife Pamela Hines of Salem, OR has been a long-time supporter of women who choose to go unassisted, and she recently wrote a post including her own ‘Unattended Birth Contract’. She writes:

“A non-refundable midwifery care deposit of $500 ensures that Pamela Hines-Powell will be available to answer questions or concerns, order desired labs or ultrasound, collaborate with other healthcare providers during the course of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This fee also ensures that she will be on call for the birth, whether or not she attends the birth.

Prenatal and postpartum care: Individual appointments are $75. The client decides how many, when and what type of appointment they need/desire.

I think it is a great option for those who want to open up their options when it comes to UC. Having an unassisted birth can be a long and lonely road, and I think that if a woman feels she needs some feedback/tests done/a midwife as a backup in case of an emergency or just as a line of support, then that is GREAT.

I do not think that having a midwife as a resource or as possible back up  means that you are abandoning your UC. Not all UCs are the same; some women have unassisted pregnancies, and some do not. Some women are completely alone, and some have doulas, friends, family, and/or their partners there. A wonderful midwife that supports UCs can be a great resource and partner on a woman’s road to going unassisted. There are many ways to have a UC!