Know Your Options

Know Your Options -Doula Support by Nancy Madru

I support an environment of shared decision-making between you and your medical care providers—midwives or obstetricians.  You choose your caregivers, your birth place, and your birth team.  We will discuss how you envision laboring, giving birth and getting to know your baby in the first hours after birth. 

We will focus on your preferences and review your options. You and your partner are the decision-makers throughout this entire process. It is important for you, as parents, to communicate with your care providers, midwives or obstetricians, about the type of birth experience you prefer.  Ideally, you will be able to do this during prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy. 

It is also important for you to continue this communication about your labor, birth and early postpartum preferences to the medical staff upon arrival at the birth center and throughout your stay.  As your doula, I will be able to remind you of your stated preferences and keep the space open for you to ask questions and be part of shared decision-making along with your care providers.

“Key Questions for Your Care”  can be used to facilitate more in-depth discussions with your providers and develop trust and communication.  The Childbirth Connection website provides comprehensive, clear information about many options, from choosing your care provider and your birthplace to understanding the hormonal physiology of childbearing.

I encourage you to ask questions and explore your options early in your pregnancy.  But if it becomes clear to you at any time in your pregnancy that you need to switch providers or birth centers, know that this is entirely possible. I have worked with women who have successfully switched as late as 38 weeks and who were happy they did.  Here are 2013 hospital statistics and information on the hospital options for birth in the Pioneer Valley. 

Local resources for women’s health abound and include acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Mayan abdominal massage, mental health therapists and light therapy.

I encourage your own reading and research.  The “Recommended Reading” section on this website features authors, Aviva Romm, MD, Rebecca Dekker, RN, and Sarah Buckley, MD.  To get you started, read Aviva Romm’s articles about alternatives for gestational diabetes testing, and labor induction and Rebecca Dekker's article on premature rupture of membranes at term.